A former Olympic medalist has been jailed for playing a ‘central role’ in supplying commercial quantities of ice cream and heroin to New South Wales after a ‘public descent’ from his career as an elite swimmer.
The 47-year-old was transported to Sydney Downing Center District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of supplying a prohibited drug, trafficking in the proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activities.
The former swimming star was convicted of supplying large quantities of ice cream and heroin after she was caught driving a drug shipment from Sydney to the town of Yass in New South Wales at the start of 2021.
Court documents say Miller made the 280 mile trip carrying $2.2 million worth of methamphetamine and was met by another man upon arrival.
The former Olympian had hidden a bag in a secret compartment of the Camry which contained eight candles containing almost 4 kg of ice.
Miller was arrested at his home in Rozelle, Sydney’s mid-west, in February last year while wearing only his blue jeans in a bare living room. During a subsequent search of his home, the court heard that police had seized nearly 800g of heroin and more than $72,000 in cash.
Miller pleaded guilty to both supplying drugs and handling felony money. He also admitted to participating in a criminal group by selling ice cream, the court was told.
The Rozelle resident has suffered a spectacular fall from grace since swimming for Australia at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and winning silver and bronze medals.
He also won two gold medals for his butterfly performances at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
His lawyer, Arjun Chhabra, previously told the court that Miller suffered a ‘public struggle’ after his early life as an elite athlete left him ‘ill-equipped to enter a life beyond his athletic career. “.
Magistrate Penny Hock told the court Miller was living full-time at the Institute of Sport in Canberra after he was discovered at a young age.
“That’s when his mental health issues started,” she said.
She noted that people who knew him when he was an elite athlete testified that he felt the pressure to perform keenly and was unhappy with second place at the Olympics.
“He was devastated, he didn’t win any gold,” the magistrate read from a character reference presented in court.
“That was the level of expectation he placed on himself.”
The court heard Miller used cocaine and ecstasy “intermittently” at first, but his drug use spiked after he quit swimming in 2004.
Celebrity pressures meant her mental health and drug use issues were well publicized and exacerbated the problems, Ms Hock said.
“His ex-wife’s suicide in 2014 put a strain on him,” she said.
The court was previously told that Miller blamed himself for the death of his ex-wife Charlotte Dawson, who was a popular television personality and model.
Ms Hock concluded there were special circumstances and sentenced the swimming star to five years and six months in prison. She noted that Miller had been in custody since his arrest on February 16 last year and backdated the sentence to that date.
He will be eligible for parole in February 2024.