Live export worker busted with 71 marijuana plants

A live export ship manager claimed he was “experimenting” when he was busted with 71 marijuana plants.

Michael Oliver Baird, 31, was first detected by police through a marijuana parcel sent via Australia Post from a friend.

Baird pleaded guilty on April 13 in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to two counts of possessing a dangerous drug, and one each of producing a dangerous drug and possible drug utensils.

Police prosecutor Sargeant Melissa Campbell said police intercepted the Australia Post parcel, which contained 28 grams of marijuana, on September 10, 2020.

She said they executed a search warrant at Baird’s Struck Oil residence on September 28, finding 71 marijuana plants throughout the property – 24 in a “grow house” in the carport along with 47 at the rear of the carport in a homemade “grow” area.

“Both areas the plants were growing were set up with ultraviolet lights, fans, humidifiers and carbon filters,” Sergeant Campbell said.

She said Baird told police he had grown the plants and fertilised them.

Sargeant Campbell said police found a further 17.7g of marijuana and a grinder with green leaf in it.

She said Baird told police the marijuana and plants were for personal use.

Defence solicitor David Mills said his client, who was born in New Zealand, was stuck on a transport ship due to COVID-19 prior to being charged, which delayed the matter.

He said Baird worked on live cattle transport ships as a manager.

Mr Mills said his client was not suitable for community service as he was due to depart on a live cattle ship bound for Portugal soon.

He said Baird was “experimenting (with marijuana) more so than anything else”.

Magistrate Jason Schubert ordered Baird to pay a $2500 fine and no conviction was recorded.



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