METH LAB: A Murray Street house across the road from Browne Park where a drug lab was discovered is sealed with police tape.
METH LAB: A Murray Street house across the road from Browne Park where a drug lab was discovered is sealed with police tape. Chris Ison ROK250814cpolice3

Grandfather allowed 'crude' meth lab set up under house

THE birth of grandchildren has seen a repeat drug producer turn his life around.

James Gordon McGregor, 49, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court on Wednesday to one count of permitting his residence to be used for producing methamphetamines.

"Police received some information that there was an active cook of methamphetamines (at his house),” Crown Prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said.

Police found McGregor and three other people downstairs of his house where a clandestine laboratory was set up.

"When police arrived there was a distinct smell in the air and they observed a clear liquid bubbling on the burner. It was still hot but appeared to be turned off. The residence was ultimately vacated for safety concerns,” Ms Lawrence said.

"One of the residents there ... was charged with production and released on bail. He is currently awaiting sentence on that matter and he's also being dealt with for trafficking charges.

"(McGregor) was in the company of two well known drug users.”

The items seized included hydrochloric acid, water pumps, improvised condensers, caustic soda, a pH test kit, iodine and a portable gas cooker.

It was deemed a category B laboratory which means there were stored and used chemicals and equipment.

The court heard the police immediately evacuated the house and closed off the nearby area for safety reasons.

An analysis by a forensic chemist concluded the group were making meth from pseudoephedrine.

Ms Lawrence said 4g of meth, or 40 points, could have been produced from the amount of ingredients found.

"It's a fairly crude set up from the photographs that I've seen,” Judge Michael Burnett said.

The court heard McGregor had also been charged with production of drugs in November 2016 after the analysis as well but the charge was dismissed by the court after conferencing between prosecution and defence legal teams.

The court heard McGregor's fingerprints were found on only two items seized.

Defence lawyer Jordan Ahlstrand said McGregor moved to Dingo two years ago in an attempt to get away from the drug scene and had been working at a sawmill during that time.

He said the birth of two grandchildren in recent times had been positive and stabilising influences on McGregor who had self-rehabilitated.

Mr Ahlstrand tendered McGregor's drug test negative results to the court.

"You are no stranger to these courts,” Judge Burnett said pointing to his lengthy criminal history that included a conviction for producing dangerous drugs in 2000.

McGregor was sentenced to 12 months prison, immediately suspended for two years.



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