Dalyellup Drug Dealer Ashley Gilbert ‘Vigilant and Protective of Territory’

An “entrenched” drug dealer who persuaded a Department of Transport employee to hand over personal details of people he thought might threaten his business has been jailed for more than three years.

Ashley Gilbert, 29, was a regular seller of methamphetamine and MDMA from his Dalyellup home, a business he persisted with despite a police raid in 2016 which turned up drugs, cash and a sophisticated CCTV system.

After police began tracing Gilbert’s phone calls last year, they heard him talking to Richelle Byrne, who worked for the Department of Transport in Perth and knew Gilbert.

What they heard sparked a Corruption and Crime Commission sting operation which eventually caught them both, and yesterday led to Gilbert being jailed.

With Gilbert having already received details of one man, provided by Byrne after she had illegally looked him up on the department computer system, CCC operatives got Gilbert to believe that a car behaving suspiciously around his house was worthy of further checks.

When he asked Byrne to check the number plate of that car for him — and she did — officers swooped, arresting them and charging them with supplying confidential information from a work database.

Yesterday in the District Court, Judge Michael Bowden was told that after suffering a back injury which curtailed his career as a cabinet-maker and fly-in, fly-out worker, Gilbert took “to his dealing activities with gusto”.

“He was not someone who was merely dabbling in a bit of meth, dealing here and there in order to support a habit,” prosecutor Erin O’Donnell said.

“He was clearly very vigilant and protective of his territory, which is illustrated by his conduct with Ms Byrne at the Department of Transport.

“As soon as he had suspicions of anyone he sought information from her.”

Byrne was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month intensive supervision order last year.

Gilbert was jailed for 31/2 years, with eligibility for parole.