Sprung: Simon Tu, 27, accidentally rammed into two parked police cars in broad daylight while driving a car with carrying up to $200million in methylamphetamine in the back
‘Australia’s dumbest criminal’ has been jailed for up to six-and-a-half years after he was sprung running $130million in meth when he crashed his van into parked police cars.
Simon Tu, 28, was cruising past a police station on Ethel St, Eastwood one Monday morning last July when he allegedly suffered a ‘microsleep’.
He ploughed his van into two stationary cop cars in broad daylight but kept driving until police caught up with the ‘nervous’ and ‘fidgety’ cafe businessman an hour later.
Tu feebly claimed he was delivering ‘food’ around Sydney but police instead found cardboard boxes stashed with 260kg of crystal methamphetamine in the back.
He has been locked up ever since and NSW District Court Judge Penelope Hock on Friday said Tu had admitted it was a ‘wake up call’.
The crash was ‘most unfortunate for the offender but was of great benefit to the community in that an enormous quantity of prohibited drug was not able to be distributed’.
Judge Hock noted he was carrying more than 500 times the amount of what the courts consider to be a ‘large’ amount of the drug, known locally as ice.
The street value of his drug shipment has been revised down from an initial police estimate of $200 million to a still-incredible $130 million.
The court heard Tu has explained he was hoping to pay off several debts and business overheads by running the drug shipment.
But the court heard he was just a courier and did not seem to be high up in the sinister drug syndicate.
The operation involved him picking up the drugs from a Pizza Hut outlet but he has never explained from whom.
He was a gambling addict who snorted cocaine and drank alcohol daily prior to the accident but has cleaned up his act behind bars, the court heard.
Tu’s own barrister, Phillip Boulten SC, described his execution of the crime as ‘hopeless’ earlier this week.
Smashed up: Tu’s spectacular crash destroyed the front of a police sedan parked out the front of Eastwood Police Station, in Sydney’s north-west
What was hiding in the back: Police found 260kg of crystal methylamphetamine in Tu’s vehicle
‘His driving is what gave it away, and his role was to drive,’ Mr Boulten told the court.
‘In some senses it was a hopeless execution of the task he was asked to perform,’ he said, describing it as ‘shambolic’ and ‘negligent’.
After several tense moments holding onto his sides, Tu was on Friday granted a non-parole period of four years, with a maximum sentence of six-and-a-half years.
A negligent driving charge was dealt with by conviction with no further penalty. He will be eligible for parole on July 21, 2023.
BLOW-BY-BLOW: HOW SIMON TU WAS SPRUNG, ACCORDING TO COURT FACTS
After crashing his car into the police vehicles at 10.36am on July 22, Tu drove his banged-up van for about an hour, court facts said, until police caught up with him.
When officers pulled him over at Blaxland Rd, Ryde, Tu – dressed in a white business shirt, jeans and loafers – was ‘nervous, shaking and fidgety’.
He avoided eye contact when officers asked what had happened outside the police station.
Tu said he had fallen asleep behind the wheel – veering onto the wrong side of the road – and only woke up when he rammed into the cop car, the court facts said.
‘Driving and microsleep … realised I fell asleep,’ he said.
Tu, who was being recorded by police body worn cameras, was then asked what he’d been doing in the suburb.
He claimed that he was simply ‘delivering food’, the court facts said.
The fidgety driver said he picked up food from a warehouse in Eastwood and was running deliveries around Sydney.
But police were suspicious of claims, the fact sheet said, because of his nervy demeanour and the fact he had driven off from a disastrous crash out the front of a police station.
Officers inspected the back of the van and found a series of Bunnings-branded cardboard boxes. What they didn’t see was any food, the facts said.
In the hour after the crash, a shaken Tu only managed to get from Eastwood to the nearby suburb of Ryde
The court facts said the purity of the substance was between 71 and 81 per cent
The cardboard boxes were loaded out of the van and meticulously pored through by gloved New South Wales police officers
Police opened one of the boxes and found twenty resealable bags of a suspicious crystalline powder. There were 260 bags of the drug inside in total.
The detectives asked Tu what was in the bags, but he was evasive. ‘Not sure,’ he said, the court documents said.
Then he made an intriguing admission.
He claimed to have picked up the boxes from a Pizza Hut outlet an hour before – but wouldn’t say who had given them to him.
Officers also found a note with the address of the Eastwood, Balaclava Rd Pizza Hut in his jacket pocket.
Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by people involved in the business – only that Tu claims to have allegedly collected them there.
The detective asked: ‘Mate, we have a drug dog coming and it’s going to be analysed. Is it drugs?’
‘What is it … ice?’ the police officer asked.
Tu shrugged again.
‘Someone isn’t going to be happy. You know how much it’s worth?’
‘A lot,’ Tu admitted.
‘What’s the go, you owe people money or just wanted to make some quick cash?’
‘Something like that,’ Tu said.
An address of a Pizza Hut outlet on Balaclava Rd (above) was found written on a note in Tu’s pocket, court documents said. Daily Mail Australia does not suggest any wrongdoing by people involved in the business
The agreed fact sheet said Tu has accepted he knew the boxes contained prohibited drugs and that they contained a ‘large commercial quantity’ – a critical legal definition which would allow prosecutors to jail him for up to 20 years.
But he didn’t know the exact quantity of drugs in the car.
‘There is no evidence … the offender played any further role other than as the driver of the vehicle which was transporting the drugs at the time he was apprehended,’ the agreed facts said.
Tu’s truck was fingerprinted extensively and his prints only turned up in the driver’s seat and on the front of the truck, not the back, the facts said.
He offered police a ‘no comment’ in an electronically recorded interview at the station.
Tu’s crash was one of the biggest – and easiest – drug hauls in the history of the New South Wales Police Force.
VERY UNLUCKY DRUG COURIER’S CAR CRASH FAIL: A TIMELINE
Monday, July 22:
A white Toyota HiAce crashes into parked police cars on Ethel St, Eastwood, in front of the police station.
It does not stop, leaving behind carnage and police officers determined to find the culprit.
A police inspector pulls over the van on Church St, Ryde, about 3kms away from the scene of the crash.
Simon Tu, 27, is behind the wheel, wearing jeans, a business shirt and loafers and claims to be a ‘food delivery’ driver.
Tu claims he suffered a ‘microsleep’ that led him to veer onto the wrong side of the road.
Officers take a look in the back only to discover he was carrying 260kg of crystal methylamphetamine, better known as ‘ice’.
Tu is arrested charged with large commercial drug supply, negligent driving and failing to give his particulars to police.
The man spends the night in police custody and gives police ‘no comment’ in an electronically recorded interview.
Tuesday, July 23:
The man appears in front of Burwood Local Court. He does not apply for bail and it is formally refused.
His lawyer, Raymond Zhai, tells reporters: ‘My client is exercising his right to silence and I have no comment for him.’
February 20, 2020
Tu pleads guilty in an unreported court appearance, with a statement of agreed facts tendered to the New South Wales District Court.
The court releases the fact sheet to Daily Mail Australia, which Tu said he had made the pick-up of the drugs from a Pizza Hut.
Officers found a note for a Pizza Hut business’s address in his jacket pocket.
Simon Tu is sentenced to up to six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.