Teen let off serious charges

A GYMPIE teenager who got caught up with a group of people involved in an illicit drug lab had a charge of producing dangerous drugs downgraded in court this week.

When police raided a Bells Bridge property on February 21, the occupants of the house were seen running into surrounding bushland, but a “dazed and confused” Charlie Druce remained behind and was one of the first occupants arrested.

Police located a drug lab in a building attached to a shed and found various types of illegal paraphernalia and drugs inside detached dwellings around the property. Officers seized a “sizeable amount of exhibits” and found Druce’s fingerprints on a 20-litre drum containing a chemical used to make the drug, methylamphetamine.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said Druce had been living in a household that had been involved in cooking up speed.

“He knew they cooked up speed in that building... he told police he wasn’t involved except that he helped pack up after the cook-up,” she said. “His fingerprints were found on a 20-litre chemical drum used in the production of methylamphetamines.”

In Druce’s defence, solicitor Corey Jenkins said his client had been boarding at the house and was never allowed to go near the drug lab out the back.

“He advised me he never made or produced methylamphetamines, nor knew what the drug looks like,” he said. “My client has no criminal history and I ask Your Honour not to record a conviction.”

Mr Jenkins said Druce had nothing more to do with the people from that house and was back living with his father.

“You came close to getting in serious trouble,” Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told the young man standing before her. Drugs not only wreck lives but will bring you into the criminal justice system.”

Druce, of Ian Drive, Curra, was placed on a good behaviour bond for six months with no conviction recorded.

The chemicals were forfeited to the Crown and Mrs Baldwin ordered police to return Druce’s mobile phone that had been confiscated for evidence.

Gympie Times

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