Strike Force Rupas: Drug dealers Beau Lawton and Paul Colvin jailed for roles in syndicate

JAILED: Beau Lawton after his arrest at Glendale on September 11, 2015. Lawton was picked up as part of Strike Force Rupas investigations into a major Hunter drug syndicate. Picture: NSW Police

JAILED: Beau Lawton after his arrest at Glendale on September 11, 2015. Lawton was picked up as part of Strike Force Rupas investigations into a major Hunter drug syndicate. Picture: NSW Police

TOGETHER they flooded Newcastle and Lake Macquarie with ecstasy and ice, made threats, collected debts and fueled their own drug addictions. 

But on Friday in Newcastle District Court, drug network kingpin Paul Michael Colvin, 35, and his second-in-command, 27-year-old Beau Lawton, renounced their drug dealing ways and said the two years they had spent on remand since Strike Force Rupas detectives smashed their operation had done them the world of good. 

Colvin was jailed for a maximum of nine years and six months for supplying more than half a kilogram of ice and armed robbery, while Lawton, one of three men on the second-tier of the operation, was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years and six months for supplying nearly 900 grams of a drug known as MDA.

Lawton had pleaded guilty to supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, a charge which carries a maximum of life in jail, after police uncovered thousands of green pills inside a wall cavity in his Speers Point home in September, 2015. 

Paul Colvin is arrested in Aberglasslyn in 2015.

Paul Colvin is arrested in Aberglasslyn in 2015.

He had also pleaded guilty to supplying 55 grams of methlyamphetamine, supplying 4.5 kilogram of cannabis, attempting to acquire a firearm without a license or permit and knowingly participate in a criminal group. 

While Colvin had pleaded guilty to supplying a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine as well as admitting to his involvement in an armed robbery at Jesmond in April, 2015, in which he and Justin Beckingham posed as police officers. 

The court heard that Colvin would source the drugs from Sydney and bring them to Newcastle where his three deputies Lawton, Adam Henry and Chris Wells would distribute the drugs onto their own network of street-level dealers. 

“They each in turn had their own customer base,” Judge Roy Ellis said on Friday.

“And they would regularly threaten physical violence to those users who fell behind in their payments.”

The pair also regularly changed mobile phones – Colvin had at least 10 while Lawton changed his number 24 times in five months –  with the detectives who brought down the operation tasked with sifting through some 23,000 telephone intercepts. 

Judge Ellis sentenced Lawton to a non-parole period of seven years meaning he will be eligible for parole in September, 2022. 

Colvin was given a non-parole period of six years and three months making him eligible for parole in December, 2021. 

Syndicate member Adam Henry was jailed for a maximum of eight and a half years, with a non-parole period of five and a half years in June after he pleaded guilty to supplying 690 grams of ice.