A former Bachelorette star has evaded jail after being caught driving a van carrying nearly 150kg of cannabis to Queensland.
Samuel Colin Minkin appeared in Sydney’s Downing Center District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to one charge of possession of a banned drug and participation in supplying a banned drug, namely cannabis, in excess of a commercial amount.
Judge Warwick Hunt told the court that Minkin, 30, was found with an encrypted device running the platform An0m through which criminals communicated.
The court was told that on May 26, 2021, Minkin was given the An0m device, through which he communicated with another man, who asked him to collect him from a property in Sunshine, Victoria at 8am the following day.
On the way back, the van broke down on the Hume Highway and Minkin was told to have it towed to an address in Minto, Sydney’s southwest.
The former reality contestant was booted early into season six of The Bachelorette.
Judge Hunt told the court that a ‘replacement van’ had been organized and that Minkin met the man on May 28, where they began driving to Queensland.
NSW Police spotted the van heading north on the M1 motorway at around 5am and quickly stopped it at Crabbes Creek.
In the back, the police found nine neatly packed boxes.
When asked about the boxes, the court heard Minkin say they were ‘extra household items he picked up from Bondi’, saying it was ‘basically rubbish’.
He gave the police the excuse that he had moved to Queensland and needed to make final arrangements at his Bondi home and arrange bail.
“(Police) had reasonable suspicions that the vehicle may have contained drugs,” Judge Hunt told the court.
Both Minkin and the man driving the van said they did not know what was in the nine boxes, which the judge said were “neatly packed.”
It was revealed that the boxes contained 322 cannabis leaf vacuum bags, with a total combined weight of 144.247 kg.
Police also found 0.035 grams of ketamine in Minkin’s bag.
He was arrested and invoked his right to remain silent until he could speak to a lawyer.
Minkin was one of 20 men who competed for the hearts of sisters Elly and Becky Miles on the reality show
Minkin later admitted that he was not aware that the amount of drugs was more than 100 kg, but that he did know that they weighed more than 25 kg.
“The agreed facts indicate that this was the first time Mr. Minkin had experience transporting drugs on behalf of the syndicate,” said Judge Hunt.
The judge said there was a degree of sophistication in the crime through the use of the encrypted devices.
He said Minkin’s role can be characterized as an “important role, but one that can be replaced.”
‘He is not indispensable in terms of his personal characteristics; he had the role of a courier driver and there is no indication that he was previously involved with the syndicate,” said Judge Hunt.
“(He had) a lack of naivete or lack of sophistication.”
Minkin was sentenced to a two-year Intensive Corrections Order by a Sydney court on Monday
Judge Hunt said Minkin is a contributing member of the community, having had glowing references from patients he treats as a musculoskeletal therapist.
He told the court that Minkin has “limited social and media exposure” after appearing on season six of Bachelorette Australia, before being booted off the show early on while trying to woo sisters Elly and Becky Miles.
“I am convinced that one’s reputation, perhaps irreparably linked to criminal misdeeds, is more specifically a deterrent,” the judge said.
Judge Hunt convicted Minkin on both counts and sentenced him to a two-year Intensive Corrections Order, which is essentially a prison sentence to be served in the community.
He ordered him to be well behaved, requiring Minkin to perform 400 hours of community service.