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Purchasing cocaine ‘as popular as buying food or alcohol’, judge says

How buying cocaine is now as easy as getting food or alcohol – dealer who ran an ‘Uber Eats’-esque network is jailed

  • Danny Watfa, 26, was arrested by tactical police in Sydney in October 2020
  • He was charged with supplying drugs and handling the proceeds of crime
  • He was sentenced in court on Thursday to three years in prison after pleading guilty
  • Court heard dealer was involved in ‘Uber Eats’ drug delivery system
  • Judge said buying cocaine has become as popular as buying food or alcohol

According to a judge in Sydney, buying cocaine has become as popular as buying food or alcohol.

Danny Watfa, 26, was sentenced to three years in prison on Thursday for his involvement in running an ‘Uber Eats’ style delivery operation in Sydney.

He was arrested in Greenacre, southwest of the city, in October 2020 during a police arrest and charged with continued supply of drugs and handling the proceeds of crime.

After pleading guilty to the charges, Watfa faced a hearing on Thursday, where Judge John Pickering, SC, said the network used a business model that was “remarkably similar to delivering food or alcohol.”

A Sydney judge says authorities will struggle to crack down on cocaine distribution as buying the drug becomes as popular as buying food or alcohol (stock image)

A Sydney judge says authorities will struggle to crack down on cocaine distribution as buying the drug becomes as popular as buying food or alcohol (stock image)

Judge Pickering said Watfa had a significant impact on Sydney’s drug supply during his involvement in the large-scale sale of cocaine in the inner city.

“It reminds you how many people in our society buy cocaine…it’s seemingly as popular as buying food or alcohol,” he said, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Pickering said it would be “impossible” for the government to crack down on the distribution of cocaine, as demand for the substance remains high and the sale of the drug was a serious charge.

The court heard that Watfa had been involved in telephone negotiations for cocaine deals often worth thousands of dollars, while “runners” worked under him to deliver the drugs.

Danny Watfa, 26, was in court on Thursday where he was convicted of his involvement in an 'Uber Eats'-esque drug delivery operation

Danny Watfa, 26, was in court on Thursday where he was convicted of his involvement in an ‘Uber Eats’-esque drug delivery operation

Judge John Pickering said cocaine sales remained a serious charge but authorities would find it difficult to monitor as long as it remains popular

Judge John Pickering said cocaine sales remained a serious charge but authorities would find it difficult to monitor as long as it remains popular

While some of the runners already have less severe sentences, Judge Pickering said Watfa’s greater role in the operation warranted a higher sentence.

“With the Uber Eats model, it’s not always easy to determine where someone is in the chain,” he says.

‘He [Watfa] was on the phone, he was the negotiator, he negotiated with people further up the chain than him.’

The court heard that Watfa had substance abuse problems and required stomach surgery and dental work, which added to his situation.

However, Judge Pickering noted that he had good rehabilitation prospects and would benefit from a longer parole, which would give him a one-year and nine-month non-parole period.

With time elapsed since his arrest, Watfa will be eligible for parole on July 14.

Watfa (pictured) was sentenced to three years in prison with an unconditional period of one year and nine months

Watfa (pictured) was sentenced to three years in prison with an unconditional period of one year and nine months

In 2020, a report from the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission found that Sydney was the country’s cocaine capital after it tested sewage across the country for drug concentrations.

Its high costs – with Australia among the countries with the highest price tag per gram – make the country a sought-after import destination for drug distributors due to its lucrative benefits.

However, demand for the product has had an impact, with Australian Federal Police saying that violence in Australian suburbs perpetrated by outlaw biker gangs and other syndicates is often linked to illegal drug trafficking.

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