Former ADF sniper
and Comancheros bikie boss sentenced to nine years' jail for
A former Australian Defence Force (ADF) sniper who headed the drug trade
in Victoria's Mildura region as a Comancheros bikie boss has
been sentenced to nine years and five months in jail.
Joshua Faulkhead, 39, used a van with hidden compartments to
transport the drugs ice, cocaine and ecstasy between Sydney and
Mildura, from May 2013 until his arrest eight months later.
Joshua Faulkhead sentenced to nine years and five months in jail
Used car with hidden compartments to move drugs
Controlled drug trade with brutal authority
The ex-ADF sniper suffered from PTSD
He controlled the drug trade with brutal authority, blackmailing
and assaulting clients in debt and recruiting by intimidation.
As an ADF sniper, Faulkhead served in East Timor and Afghanistan
and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when he
returned to Australia.
In sentencing, the judge said it was clear he was tempted by
financial gain but was also influenced by acute psychosis.
The judge said while he felt genuine sympathy for Faulkhead, who
continues to suffer PTSD, the veteran deserved a lengthy jail
The judge said he found it a difficult sentence to determine but
he believed Faulkhead was capable of rehabilitation, has family
support, and was a resilient man with a good work ethic.
However he quoted from a doctor who said Faulkhead required
intensive psychiatric treatment in hospital and said he should
get that if he was released on parole.
Faulkhead was held in the Melbourne Remand Centre at the time of
the prison riots and the court was told he relived his war
experiences during the uprising.
He was sentenced to nine years and five months in prison with a
non-parole period of six years.
Faulkhead used 'fear, violence, intimidation' to recover drug
Details of the bikie gang's drug operation, and Faulkhead's
violent and intimidating behaviour, were revealed during a plea
hearing in the Victorian County Court in September.
"Faulkhead regularly applied pressure to recover any outstanding
drug debts," crown prosecutor Keiran Gilligan told the court.
"As a result, a number of people who were in debt were either
put onto payment plans or were assaulted by ... Faulkhead ... to
Drugs allegedly found concealed in bikie van
Photo: Faulkhead was arrested during a large-scale drug bust in
Video footage was played in court showing Faulkhead and others
meeting outside a cafe in Mildura discussing what was described
as "debt management" by the prosecution.
The court heard Faulkhead frequently inflated the debts of those
who owed him money in order to pressure them.
He also drug tested dealers and fined them if they tested
Faulkhead joined the Comancheros after returning to Australia
and was ranked fourth in its hierarchy.
Mr Gilligan said Faulkhead "got involved for his own personal
The syndicate run by the motorcycle gang turned over
"considerable sums of money", he added.
"It was run on intimidation, fear and violence," Mr Gilligan