COOKING UP TROUBLE: An example of a drug lab in operation.
COOKING UP TROUBLE: An example of a drug lab in operation. Queensland Police Service

A chat with an ice manufacturer facing jail

A MAN facing jail for producing the party drug ice in his caravan's kitchen has told how easy the drug is to source on the Sunshine Coast.

"Just go to any caravan park or bar, you can get it within a half-an-hour," the 43-year-old said.

"Those places are rife with it. Go to any pub, someone will know how to do it. Mooloolaba is probably the best."

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But he had a stern warning for anyone thinking of experimenting with the drug - don't.

"It's just not worth it," the man said.

It's not that the drug had caused any ill side-effects, it was because at the moment, he was facing the very real prospect of jail.

We were talking in the foyer of the Maroochydore District Court.

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The man was waiting to hear if he would be sentenced to jail for the crimes he confessed to committing.

He was facing five counts of producing methamphetamines.

It was a vulnerable moment as he realised, this time he could lose his freedom.

He asked to remain anonymous as he feared if his details were released, "the bikies will come after me if they know I can make the drug".

"I'm trying to stay out of it, if they know I can do it, they won't stop until they get me to," he said.

It wasn't the first time the man had faced court.

"I've been taking ice on-and-off for the last 25 years," he said.

"I've never been in jail before".

He told how he first learnt the secret of making the drug while working on oil and gas rigs 20 years ago.

"The chemist there told me how to do it."

Before he could explain if the process was difficult or dangerous, we were called into the court where Judge John Robertson would decide his fate.

"It is just not worth it. I love my freedom too much."

The crown prosecutor wasted no time outlining the seriousness of the offence.

He had a prior drug-related criminal history, but his last entry was in 2006.

Then, on February 5 last year, police raided his caravan and found his production laboratory in the tiny caravan kitchen.

He had produced half a gram of the substance, but then he confessed to producing four other similar quantities over the last four years.

The prosecutor acknowledged that without his confession they would have not been able to convict him of those crimes.

The court heard the man was born with Spina Bifida and had been taking drugs to help ease his crippling back pain.

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Defence Barrister Malcolm Harrison said the man was "an addict", but he had recently completed the QMerit drug diversion program and for the last few months had managed to remain clean.

Judge Robertson took into account the man's admissions had placed him in more trouble.

He gave him an 18 months sentence, with the parole release date effective immediately on the first charge of producing the drug. He received three years probation for the other four charges.

This meant the man could walk free, but not without a stern warning from Judge Robertson who made it clear, if he was found with the drug again he would go to jail.

We have chatted briefly again since the court appearance and again the man said he remained determined to stay clean.

"It is just not worth it. I love my freedom too much."



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