Real Life

Real life: The ice queens of Wangaratta exposed

These evil young women almost destroyed a little Victorian city by peddling an illicit drug to the townsfolk.

By John Parrish

An underworld trio of glamorous selfie-loving blondes with a passion for fast cars, guns and cash, transformed the picturesque cathedral city of Wangaratta into the ice capital of country Victoria.

It began with aged-care nurse Jessica Fogarty, a troubled teen, who fell pregnant twice at the age of 15 and had two terminations.

A couple of years later she became involved with an abusive 22-year-old man, and by the time she turned 20, she was addicted to ice. She couldn't support an ice addiction on her wage as a nurse, so she started dealing. And Fogarty was good at it.

WATCH: The confronting anti-ice ad by the Australian Government. Post continues...

Borrowing business techniques, she carefully selected dealers to work under her, including the sons and daughters of respectable families – the last people to be suspected by police. To keep them motivated in the business she promised she would make them rich, and even started a loyalty scheme. The more her dealers spent with her, the cheaper the drugs became.

"I always give everyone a chance, but I have to see payment ongoing for a while," she boasted.

Fogarty also didn't shirk from violence.

"I'm pretty easygoing, but I can be a real piece of work," she said, and nobody knew that better than her boyfriend Matthew Tymms, who had his nose broken by Fogarty during an argument.

Her dealers knew her as "Princess Devil Woman", and she quickly rose to the top of the local syndicate, making up to $64,000 a week.

Not even childbirth slowed this drug boss down, and she directed enforcers to collect debts in June 2014 – while cradling her newborn daughter in hospital.

One of Fogarty's closest allies was another dealer, Jessica "Shorty" Short.

Short was 10 years old when she learned the woman she thought was her biological mother was actually her stepmother. Her biological mum had died after having her, and the news traumatised Short.

Jessica Fogarty's dealers knew her as "Princess Devil Woman." *(Image: Facebook)*
Jessica Fogarty's dealers knew her as "Princess Devil Woman." (Image: Facebook)

Discount scheme

She was bullied by other children, began self-harming and at 19 got hooked on drugs. With a $3500-a-day ice habit, she too dealt the evil drug to pay for her habit. Recognising a kindred spirit, Fogarty went into partnership with Short.

The pair sold up to $10 million worth of drugs between them. Short started her own discount scheme or street level dealers called the "layby club", writing a drug-dealing master plan entitled "World Domination" and even plotting a to-do list in case of arrest.

Wangaratta was never going to be big enough for two queen bees though, and in June 2014 the pair had a falling out, with Short starting her own syndicate. But all along, detectives had been secretly investigating the "Ice Queens" – and in September 2014 they swooped on the two Jessicas, charging both with trafficking.

Fogarty was quick to dob in other dealers and many more people were arrested, while she was on remand. She also refused to see her daughter because it was too upsetting for them both.

Short was bailed after four months on remand, but almost immediately returned to dealing and was rearrested.

Jessica "Shorty" Short originally went into partnership with Fogarty but then started her own syndicate. *(Image: Facebook)*
Jessica "Shorty" Short originally went into partnership with Fogarty but then started her own syndicate. (Image: Facebook)

In March 2016, Fogarty, then 26, admitted drug trafficking and was jailed for seven years with a non-parole period of four-and-half. Just three weeks later, one of her low-level dealers, former hairdresser Jasmine Bourne, launched her own syndicate.

In May, Short, then 25, admitted to trafficking, and was jailed for eight-and-half years, reduced to six years and 10 months on appeal with a non-parole period of four years and three months.

Meanwhile, Bourne's business boomed, as she filled the vacuum left by the two Jessicas. Fogarty and Short had created the market and she cashed in, turning over $25,000 a week from a standing start.

But police were determined to end the city's reputation as the ice capital of country Victoria, and after eight months they pounced on Bourne. She attempted to flee, ramming a police car before she was caught.

In August 2018, Bourne, 28, admitted to drug trafficking, fighting back tears as she was jailed for eight years. The last of Wangaratta's ice queens had fallen.

Jasmine Bourne's filled the vacuum left by the two Jessicas before her own arrest this year. *(Image: Facebook)*
Jasmine Bourne's filled the vacuum left by the two Jessicas before her own arrest this year. (Image: Facebook)

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