Olympian Scott Miller (pictured) was always going to get caught trying to smuggle meth from Sydney to the Victorian border
Olympic swimmer Scott Miller called his co-offenders ‘f***ing spastics’ when he learnt their inept drug running escapade had been busted by police.
Miller was using the supposedly encrypted ANOM phone app when he learnt a plan to smuggle 4kg of meth from Sydney to Albury on the Victorian border had ended in arrests.
‘They reckon they were in a police chase – stashed all the stuff,’ Miller wrote to his accomplice Wayne Allan Johnson in a text.
‘F***ing spastics the lot of them. I’ve got headaches now. Headaches on top of headaches.’
Miller was using the ANOM handle EyeQ – ‘eye’ is short for ice, or crystal methylamphetamine – while Johnson called himself Snowy Mountain.
Unknown to the pair, ANOM had been set up by law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Australian Federal Police.
Having the AFP and FBI monitor his communications was just one of the monumental mistakes Miller made before the bumbling team’s arrests.
In another series of conversations after their meth plans came unstuck Miller told Johnson he had acquired 1kg of heroin he needed someone to test.
‘I need someone to put it in their arm,’ he told Johnson. ‘I’ve smoked a heap off foil and I’m relaxed at best.’
Drug runner Scott Miller won a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the 100m butterfly. He was married to TV personality Charlotte Dawson from 1999 to 2000. Dawson took her own life In 2014. The couple is pictured in August 1999
Miller was using the ANOM phone app when he learnt a plan to smuggle 4kg of meth from Sydney to Albury had ended in arrests. ‘They reckon they were in a police chase – stashed all the stuff,’ Miller wrote to an accomplice in a text. ‘F***ing spastics the lot of them’
Miller has attributed his involvement in supplying meth to ‘post elite competition depression’ and his own long-term drug abuse.
The 100m butterfly silver medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is also known for his brief marriage to Sydney socialite and TV presenter Charlotte Dawson between 1999 and 2000. Dawson took her own life in 2014.
The now 47-year-old’s descent into criminality has emerged as he awaits sentencing for his doomed attempt at smuggling meth.
The ANOM messages are contained in a police statement prepared for the case against one of his co-offenders, Luke Mathew Peake.
Miller’s plan to drive 4kg of meth worth $2.2million across New South Wales ended in his apprehension along with three bumbling associates, one of whom he had met in rehab.
Miller sat slumped and shirtless in a chair as police searched his apartment at Rozelle, in Sydney’s inner west, just after dawn on February 16 last year. Police found almost a kilogram of heroin in his home as well as more than $70,000 in cash
In another series of conversations after their meth plans came unstuck Miller told Wayne Allan Johnson he had acquired 1kg of heroin he needed someone to test. ‘I need someone to put it in their arm,’ he told Johnson. ‘I’ve smoked a heap off foil and I’m relaxed at best’
The entire shambolic scheme had no chance of success, with police watching, listening to and tracking every movement of the drugs from start to finish.
Miller drove the meth about 280km from Sydney to Yass and handed over the consignment for transport to Albury.
But the drugs were ditched more than 200km further south after two incompetent mules were involved in a high-speed pursuit with highway patrol officers.
One of those couriers had shot up drugs just before the police chase and the other had only gone on the trip to keep his emotionally fragile friend company.
Even before Miller began his cross-state dash he was worried, desperately sending a message to his fellow conspirator Johnson: ‘Tiger up my ass bro’.
The investigation into Miller began early last year after police discovered a shipment of candles which each contained half a kilogram of methylamphetamine.
Wayne Allan Johnson, 49, pleaded guilty to taking part in the supply of a prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group. Johnson is pictured outside court in August
By monitoring electronic communications police identified a group including Miller, Johnson, Justin Szabolics, and Peake, a hapless late addition to the plot.
After obtaining a surveillance device warrant police were able to install trackers, listening and optical devices inside a white Toyota Camry with Western Australian plates used by Miller.
Those devices revealed the Camry had a hidden, electronically lockable compartment concealed behind the rear passenger seat which could only be opened with a specific sequence of actions.
That process was meant to be sufficiently complex that the compartment could not be accidentally opened.
At 4.30pm on January 11 Miller drove the Camry from Wise Street, Rozelle to White Street Balmain. The hide was empty when Miller got out of the car and walked to Elkington Park.
Scott Miller drove this Toyota Camry from Sydney about 280km to Yass with 4kg of meth hidden in a secret compartment. The car and drugs were then handed to Justin Szabolics and Luke Peake who headed down the Hume Highway towards Albury
A short time later an unknown man wearing a hi-visibility shirt and face covering opened the rear passenger door and placed a blue, white and red bag into the footwell.
Inside the bag were eight candles in glass containers which contained 3,961 grams of meth, sometimes called ‘eye’ by suppliers.
The meth was in oil form, mixed in with the candle wax, and the intention was to convert it to crystals in a process known as sharding.
At 4.30pm Miller returned to the Camry and drove it to Thornton Street, Balmain where he appeared to use his mobile phone to take photos of the footwell.
He then opened the hide – which required the ignition to be turned on – and loaded the contents of the bag into the compartment before closing it.
The meth, worth $2.2million, was concealed in eight candles which were put in a red, white and blue striped bag that was stashed in this hidden compartment
Miller drove the Camry to nearby Terry Street and left the vehicle parked there overnight.
Just after 6pm Miller contacted Johnson using the ANOM app.
Miller: ‘Bro… Yo… I need the eye separated from the wax and sharded… Bro.’
Johnson: ‘I talk to them tomoz… I pushed for tonight. Someone was with him a few days ago. Said he couldn’t see me Tull tomorow.
Miller: ‘Ok… I have pressure to do it quick from OS people… Yo… Yo.’
About 12pm the next day Miller picked up the Camry and drove to Homebush then returned to Balmain without stopping. He messaged Johnson again at 12.04pm using ANOM.
Miller: ‘On way to Yass… On m4… Tiger up my ass bro… I need you… Meet me M4… I’m turning around… I’ll come your area… ‘
Johnson: ‘I’m on scooter 20 min.’
A highway patrol unit unsuccessfully tried to pull over the Camry and gave chase as it reached high speeds. The chase was terminated shortly before midnight when it became too dangerous. Miller is pictured inset top and bottom
The day before the drug run Miller contacted Wayne Johnson using the supposedly encrypted ANOM mobile phone app which was popular with criminals at the time. Miller’s handle was EyeQ and Johnson called himself Snowy Mountain
Shorty before 1pm Miller told Johnson he was parked in a dead end near his home and to come outside, bringing his encrypted Ciphr phone. Johnson joined him about 1.30pm and said he couldn’t find his Ciphr.
Miller showed Johnson how to access the hide and Johnson placed something small inside the compartment. The pair then drove west on the M4 motorway.
At 2.44pm they stopped at a service station at Pheasants Nest, about 100km south-west of Sydney, to refuel and purchase snacks. Johnson took over the driving.
Down in Albury on the NSW-Victoria border on the same day, Peake had met up with Miller’s friend Szabolics.
According to a statement of facts tendered in court, Szabolics told Peake he was working for Miller and he had to pick up a vehicle in Yass as part of his employment.
‘[Peake] was concerned about Szabolics driving such distances without company and offered to come with him,’ the statement said. ‘At the time Szabolics had broken up with a girlfriend and the offender was worried about his mental state.’
The day of the drug run Miller, calling himself EyeQ, messaged Wayne Johnson, who used the handle Snowy Mountain, using ANOM devices. ‘On way to Yass… On m4… Tiger up my ass bro… ‘ Miller wrote
Szabolics and Peake drove the 270km north-east to Yass and at 4.28pm checked into the Thunderbird Motel, where Miller and Johnson pulled up in the Camry about half an hour later.
Johnson later accessed the hidden compartment several times, loading items and removing the blue, white and red bag.
All four men later drove to a remote road where the Camry was refuelled from a jerry can and Johnson showed Szabolics how to open the hide.
The group went back to the Thunderbird Motel where Johnson returned the bag to the Camry and Peake put it in the hidden compartment.
As the four stood around the car Szabolics questioned the wisdom of using a car with Western Australian plates and Miller reassured him it wasn’t a problem. They all then had a meal at the Club House Hotel.
Shortly before 9pm Szabolics and Peake got into the Camry and headed south on the Hume Highway for Albury. About 11pm they stopped at a rest area at Little Billabong for half an hour.
The investigation into Miller began early last year after police discovered a shipment of candles which each allegedly contained half a kilogram of methylamphetamine. Miller is pictured outside Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court after facing a drug charge in 2014
‘During this time Szabolics injected “gear” and told Peake about his relationship with Miller, saying that others were “in his pocket” and that he “gets s**t done”,’ a statement of facts said.
‘He said that he and Miller had attended rehab together twice, and said, “He’s a good c**t ’cause he doesn’t, like, you can do what you want as long as you’re doing your s**t . Like, he doesn’t tell me not take drugs.’
The meth was allegedly moulded into glass containers holding candles (pictured)
The pair then resumed their journey with Peake – who was disqualified from driving – at the wheel.
At 11.46pm a Holbrook highway patrol vehicle tried to stop the Camry and flashed its warning lights. Szabolics told Peake: ‘Go’.
Police commenced a pursuit and Peake accelerated to 200km/h before braking harshly and turning onto Woomargama Way at Woomargama, crossing onto the wrong side of the road.
The pursuit was terminated by police who feared for their safety.
Once the chase was over Szabolics and Peake argued about where they should go next and Szabolics took over the driving.
‘After swapping, Szabolics told [Peake] it would be bad if they were caught with the contents of the bag,’ a statement of facts said.
‘Whilst Szabolics was driving, Peake said, “We’ve just gotta get back to [indecipherable] and then we’re going to f***ing stash the car somewhere”.
‘The interior light of the car went on and Peake accessed the hidden compartment. Sometime later Peake said words to the effect “stash this” and they slowed down and Peake said “Tree”.’
Justin Szabolics (above) shot up ‘gear’ during the drive from Yass towards Albury. He told fellow mule Luke Peake about his relationship with Miller, who he had met in drug rehab
At 12.03am the Camry stopped at the intersection of Holbrook Wagga Road and Rose Valley Lane at Cookardinia where Peake put the bag behind a large tree in long grass. They then drove to Jindera Street, Jindera and abandoned the vehicle.
Later that day police found the bag containing the drugs where Peake had put it.
‘The following day Szabolics approached [Peake] and asked him to come and retrieve the items,’ a statement of facts said.
‘[Peake] refused as he did not want to be part of the criminal activity. However he later relented but they could not find the bag.’
Peake and Szabolics – who Miller called ‘Albury’ in an ANOM message – were arrested for other matters on January 14 and held in custody.
Miller wrote to Johnson on January 29: ‘I got 1kg Hammer. Need it tested. Help.’
Johnson: ‘OK. Do you still need him sorted?’
Miller: ‘I need someone to put in in their arm. I’m back dealing with oldman I won’t deal direct again it’s a nightmare. But we landed 1kg hammer today I need it tested.’
It was after this exchange that Miller wrote, ‘I’ve smoked a heap off foil and I’m relaxed at best.’
Detective Senior Constable David Randle wrote in a statement tendered in court that ‘hammer’ meant heroin.
‘I believe the statement “smoked a heap off foil” is Miller indicating that he has consumed some of the drug by placing the drug onto foil, heating it and inhaling the fumes,’ Detective Senior Constable said.
Miller was originally charged with knowingly directing a criminal group but after representations by lawyer Greg Goold that was downgraded to participating in the drug syndicate, to which he also pleaded guilty. He is pictured with former wife Charlotte Dawson
‘I believe the phrase “need someone to put it in their arm” is Miller stating that he wants someone to inject the drug directly into a vein using a hypodermic needle to test the quality.’
A search warrant was executed on Miller’s apartment at Rozelle just after 6am on February 16. The Camry was found at the unit.
At his apartment police found 796.8 grams of heroin in a cardboard box inside a walk-in wardrobe. They located $2,175 in the same wardrobe, $500 in a satchel, and $69,870 in a safe.
Johnson was arrested the same day as Miller but Peake and Szabolics were not charged over the drug run until March 16 – a month later.
Miller pleaded guilty in March to supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Miller was allowed to put on a striped polo shirt before he was handcuffed and taken to Newtown police station to be charged. He underwent an electronically recorded interview but to each question answered, ‘No comment’
He was originally charged with knowingly directing a criminal group but after representations by solicitor Greg Goold that was downgraded to participating in the drug syndicate, to which he also pleaded guilty.
Szabolics, 45, pleaded guilty to supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group.
Johnson, 49, pleaded guilty to taking part in the supply of a prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group.
Peake, 42, pleaded guilty to taking part in the supply of a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, driving while disqualified and driving recklessly and at dangerous speeds during the police pursuit.
In March he received minimum terms of 15 months for each offence and became eligible for parole on May 13.
Miller, Szabolics and Johnson are due back in court on November 3.
Miller has admitted having troubles in his personal life in recent years. During an interview with 60 Minutes in 2014 he admitted he was battling a drug addiction. He is pictured at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre in 1996, the year of the Atlanta Olympics