Gun traders, drug lords – how three Brisbane brothers created their own crime wave

Three brothers have been jailed for between seven and four years over a “cynical and selfish” effort to profit from drug and illegal arms dealing.

Dec 13, 2022, updated Dec 13, 2022
 Photo: ABC

Photo: ABC

Shane Ah-San, 33, faced Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday along with Shamish Loane Lemi Ah-San, 27, and Shalom Tom Ah-San, 31, for sentencing on a range of charges stemming from a police undercover operation.

The older brother pleaded guilty to 26 charges included supplying and trafficking methamphetamine, aggravated unlawful supply of weapons and refusing to provide police with the password to his phone.

Shamish Ah-San pleaded guilty to six counts of supplying drugs, one count each of trafficking and possession of drugs, and one count of unlawful supply of weapons.

Shalom Ah-San pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying and one charge each of trafficking drugs and unlawful supply of weapons.

Police raided Shane Ah-San’s family home at Waterford West, south of Brisbane, on September 20, 2019 after a police operation that targeted drugs and firearms dealing throughout the Logan and Greater Brisbane area.

Undercover operatives had purchased just under 300 grams of meth from Shane or via his brothers for $43,000 over eight transactions.

The operatives also bought eight firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle and sawn-off shotguns plus a home-made silencer, for $53,000.

The crown prosecutor said Shane’s offending more serious than that of his brothers.

“Shane was the primary part of the operation … Great care was taken to avoid police detection; they used encrypted messaging and cipher phones that work on a secure network,” the prosecutor said.

Shane’s barrister said his client had spent weeks trying to find the drugs and guns to sell, and had “not been making a great profit”.

He had been buying ounces of drugs for $4100 and then selling with a $200 profit that was split three ways.

He had fallen into using meth in 2018 after a medical condition forced him to give up work and he would likely be deported to New Zealand on release despite spending almost all his life in Australia.

“He’s in as bad a position as one can possibly be under the Migration Act,” the barrister said.

Shamish’s barrister, Gary Churchill, said his client did take part in the dealing of his own accord but in a subordinate role and never made enough money to give up his job.

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“He didn’t really have decision-making powers of his own,” Churchill said.

Shalom’s barrister, Michael Bonasia, said his client at the time of the offending was unable to work as he was caring for a close family member.

“He sought support from his elder brother and one thing led to another,” Bonasia said.

Justice Lincoln Crowley said all three brothers had engaged in “cynical and selfish behaviour” with an eye to profit without regard to the potential harm.

“It does not matter that all the sales were to police; (the brothers) did not know that at the time,” Justice Crowley said.

He said unlawfully selling firearms created a “clear risk of facilitating further offending by others”.

“Each of you has not put respect into your culture and your community …You have lost your way,” he said.

Shane was jailed for seven years with 740 days recognised as time served.

Shamish was sentenced to five years to be suspended after serving 12 months in addition to the five months he has spent on remand.

Shalom was sentenced to four years but his term was wholly suspended.

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