By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A man has been jailed after being caught selling an array of drugs, guns and stolen luxury cars in an undercover police sting in Melbourne’s South East.
Jayden Schmidt, 22, of Narre Warren, was able to quickly source drugs, recently stolen high-end cars and firearms including a fully-automatic SKS assault rifle to sell to covert police operatives, sentencing judge Kevin Doyle said on 22 May.
At the end of the sting, Schmidt and two co-accused men had arranged to meet an operative to sell a stolen $180,000 Mercedes and a sawn-off shotgun and shells in Worrell Street Dandenong.
They were arrested at the scene by Special Operation Group police on 4 June 2019.
Schmidt’s lawyer argued the accused played a “subordinate role”. He’d been paid with the drug ice and received no money from the transactions.
Judge Doyle said whatever the financial benefit, Schmidt had “enthusiastically” taken part in the serious criminal activity including selling a total of 63.6 grams of ice over five transactions.
Four of the five stolen cars handled by Schmidt had been taken in aggravated burglaries.
“You were promoting a market to drive such serious offending,” Judge Doyle said.
“You were the middle-man but you could not have been far from the hub of this system of stolen vehicles given the proximity of time.”
From February 2019, Schmidt negotiated with two different police operatives to sell stolen cars such as two luxury utes for $8000, a $40,000 Audi A4 for $5000 and a $75,000 BMW X5 for $5000
On the first occasion, Schmidt – with a bumbag full of about $10,000 cash – drove to a house in Endeavour Hills where he obtained samples of ice and cocaine to the undercover officer.
The transactions escalated to 7 grams of ice for $1000 at a rendezvous at KFC in Lonsdale Street, Dandenong.
On another occasion, 28 grams of ice was exchanged for $4000.
In 17 May 2019, Schmidt was involved in arranging the sale of the assault rifle out of a boot of a stolen Audi in Eden Rise shopping centre car park in Berwick.
A second accused man Iqan Mehrdadian, 19, of Trugannina, opened the boot and displayed the rifle – capable of firing 100 rounds per minute.
Four days later, Schmidt and Salesui allegedly sold the “hot” Audi and rifle with a loaded magazine and other rounds for $18,000 to the operative in a meeting at Wattle Street Doveton.
The rifle’s serial number was removed, its origin was unknown, Judge Doyle noted.
Schmidt had shown reluctance to deal arms and was “pressed” by the operative to do so. On the other hand, this showed he understood the “gravity” of the offending, Judge Doyle said.
“This is a very dangerous weapon … (The act) shows a total disregard for the safety of the public.”
Schmidt’s difficult childhood partly explained his “downward spiral”. His borderline IQ also made him more likely to follow bad influences, Judge Doyle said.
Schmidt was unlikely to cope well in prison particularly during Covid-19 lockdown when family visits, chapel services and rehab programs were stopped, the judge noted.
According to Judge Doyle, Schmidt had shown insight into his offending and was credited for his early guilty plea.
With a history of drug and deception offences, Schmidt had breached two community corrections orders designed for his rehabilitation.
His “real risk of continuing along a path of serious criminality” required extended parole supervision.
Schmidt was jailed for three years and eight months, including a two-year and four-month non-parole period. He had already served 355 days in remand.
The co-accused Mehrdadian was jailed for 13 months with a two-year supervised community corrections order.
He’d been charged as a prohibited person possessing the assault rifle and handling the stolen Audi.