1 August 2021

Drug dealer jailed after found hiding in a cupboard covered in blood

| Albert McKnight
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Ryan Wolfgang Erntner

Ryan Wolfgang Erntner, 29, will remain behind bars for several more months. Photo: Facebook.

A drug dealer found bloodied and beaten when hiding in a friend’s cupboard will spend most of 2021 behind bars before he is released from jail.

On Tuesday (27 July), Magistrate Glenn Theakston told the ACT Magistrates Court that 29-year-old Ryan Wolfgang Erntner had pleaded guilty to 17 charges covering a raft of offences in 2019-2020, from drug trafficking and possessing prohibited weapons to escaping custody.

He said police searched Erntner’s parents’ home in Banks on 3 January 2020, linking Erntner to 68 grams of methylamphetamine, 370 grams of cannabis, $6000 cash and three extendable batons found at the premises.

On 15 January, Erntner was pulled over by police when driving in Kambah. He returned a positive drug screening test for methylamphetamine.

“F–k that, I don’t do meth,” he said when police told him of the test’s result.

Despite being told he was under arrest, he drove away at speed.

On 19 January, Erntner was arrested at the Statesman Hotel in Curtin. Police found 264 grams of cannabis inside his room, almost $2000 in cash and a knuckle duster.

When police searched his parents’ home again on 25 July, they found just over $12,000 in cash in his bedroom and a ‘Desert Eagle’ gel blaster in the garage, a replica of a semi-automatic handgun.

Erntner was found hiding in a friend’s cupboard on 2 August, and police reported he had a black eye and was wearing a ripped t-shirt with blood on his chest and tracksuit pants. He claimed to them that he had been assaulted.

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Magistrate Theakston said Erntner’s fiancée, who was supporting him in court on Tuesday, had ended their relationship in the past due to his choosing drugs over their relationship.

Erntner’s lawyer, Josie Dempster of Key Chambers, said the range and circumstances of the offences demonstrated her client had been going through a period of “enormous self-destruction”.

She said all of his crimes were caused due to his relapse into drug use and an inability to manage his mental health issues.

Ms Dempster said his offences were unplanned, chaotic and “somewhat desperate in the way they were carried out”.

She said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia but had been offered a job as a carpenter he would take up on his release.

Prosecutor Margaret Smith said some of Erntner’s crimes were aggravated by the fact that he had been under an intensive corrections order, now expired, when he committed them.

She argued his criminal history “leaves no room for leniency”.

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Ms Dempster said her client had already spent 442 days in custody. However, Magistrate Theakston was not swayed, saying, “the amount served is considerable, but the offending is considerable as well”.

He jailed Erntner for a total of two years and three months, with a non-parole period of 17 months which means he is not eligible to be released from custody until October 2021.

He was also fined about $4000.

Erntner, who looked visibly disappointed at his sentence, raised his hand to his head to signal “I’ll call you” to his fiancée before he was led back to jail.

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