Drug-addled descent of bodybuilding’s ‘next big thing’
A former professional bodybuilder and his "business partner'' in the wholesale supply of MDMA to a large drug syndicate, have each been jailed for more than seven years for trafficking.
Ben Alexander Townson, who has competed in Australian championship bodybuilding, and Ryan Sean Givney also bought large amounts of cocaine and cannabis from the drug syndicate.
Townson, 31, pleaded guilty on Thursday in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to drug trafficking and four other drug-related charges.
They included possession of cocaine and testosterone and $41,650, reasonably suspected of being proceeds of drug crime,
Ryan Sean Givney, 40, who once operated a string of supplement shops, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and 12 other drug and weapon offences.
Justice Martin Burns sentenced Townson to seven and a half years in jail for drug trafficking and lesser concurrent jail terms on other charges.
He will be eligible for release on parole on March 15, 2023.
Givney was sentenced to eight years in jail for trafficking and lesser concurrent jail sentences for six of the other charges. No parole eligibility date was set.
Justice Burns said over a six-week period in 2017, Townson and Givney supplied 4000 MDMA tablets and 213 grams of MDMA powder to the syndicate, receiving $25,000 from the sales.
Over five weeks that year the pair bought 293 grams of cocaine for $56,000, for a commercial purpose, Justice Burns said.
Over five months they bought large quantities of cannabis, spending around $200,000, with the largest transaction costing $100,000, also for a commercial purpose.
MDMA, cocaine and vials of testosterone, as well as $41,650, were found when police searched Townson's Murarrie home in September, 2017.
A search of Givney's Cleveland home in August, 2018, uncovered 1500 MDMA tablets, 12 vials of testosterone, cocaine and steroids, as well as a replica firearm, a handgun, rifles, a silencer, ammunition and $10,000 cash.
At the time Townson committed some of the offences he was on a good behaviour bond and on parole, the court heard.
The pair were arrested after police began investigating a large drug distribution syndicate run by two men, with an extensive customer base, Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said.
In a letter to the court Townson, who was labelled Australia's "next big thing'' in bodybuilding in 2013, said 2017 had been "an incredibly shameful period'' of his life.
Defence counsel Patrick McCafferty QC said Townson previously had been a personal trainer, a professional body builder and a gifted athlete who had gone from steroid use to trafficking.
James Goldbolt, for Givney, said he had once owned a supplements business, with two shops and had sold six franchises and run a gym in Toowoomba.
Justice Burns said both former addicts had taken steps towards rehabilitation which gave him confidence and hope for their future.
He said the moment they immersed themselves in drug culture the men their families knew and loved vanished.
Justice Burns directed that the Parole Board be asked to consider an early application for parole for Givney.
Originally published as Dramatic drug-addled descent of bodybuilding's 'next big thing'