Man gets 14 years’ jail over drugs bust on home

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Justin Glen Rinaldi, 39, pleaded guilty to almost 40 charges laid after police raided his Belmont home in February 2014. Quantities of ecstasy, cocaine and methylamphetamine were found, as well as 14 weapons, including automatic rifles and pistols, along with 2,386 rounds of ammunition.

Some of the drugs and guns were found in an underground bunker while the cash was located inside a washing machine and in the roof.

District Court Judge Christopher Stevenson said there was no direct evidence Rinaldi had personally acquired or sold any of the drugs and firearms, but he said Rinaldi had allowed his house to become an illegal firearm and drug “warehouse” and had willingly taken on the role of being a “caretaker”.

No evidence of bikie link: judge

At the time of his arrest, police said Rinaldi had links to the Mongol bikie gang, but Judge Stevenson said there was no direct evidence he was associated with any outlaw motorcycle gang.

However, Judge Stevenson said he was satisfied that Rinaldi had been involved in “a significant criminal enterprise” and if he had not been arrested, the drugs and guns would have made their way into the community.

“They would have been disseminated and the harm that they would have caused in the community is what sits behind the criminality of Mr Rinaldi’s offending.”

Judge Stevenson accepted that since Rinaldi had been in custody he had been a “model prisoner” who was genuinely remorseful, but he said he had not provided any “ostensible or real assistance to the police” about where the drugs and guns had come from and who was dealing in them. Rinaldi must serve 12 years before he can be released.

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