Former A-grade rugby player in prison over 36kg drug haul

A DISCOVERY of 36kg of marijuana divided into toothpaste-smothered plastic bags to conceal the smell has landed former Ipswich A-grade rugby league player Kaustio Magele in jail.

Magele, 26, who used to play for Swifts and is now with a South Logan team, will be eligible for parole in March next year after being sentenced to 18 months jail.

He pleaded guilty to possessing about $350,000 to $400,000 worth of marijuana.

Brisbane District Court heard yesterday police followed Magele's housemate Michael Norman Hatzinik home from the airport after he had flown from Melbourne to Brisbane in September last year.

He had two suitcases with him which police later discovered had a total 35.9kg of cannabis inside with the drugs separated into plastic bags. The plastic bags were smeared with toothpaste.

During the police raid Magele tried fleeing through his bedroom window but was caught. He also had $5000 cash in his bedroom drawers, which police suspected was drug related.

Hatzinik had $7000 cash in his bedroom and police also found a money counting machine, a food saver machine and food saving bags at the men's house.

Both men pleaded guilty to possessing the drug and possessing equipment used to supply marijuana among other drug charges.

The court heard Magele had no criminal history.

Judge William Everson said it was a clear the men were involved in dealing the marijuana.

"The facts alleged against you are that you (were) engaged in a joint commercial enterprise in respect of the source and distributing of cannabis," he said. Hatzinik was sentenced to two years jail and will be eligible for parole in May next year. Magele was sentenced to 18 months and can apply for parole next March.

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