Par­ents sent to jail for drugs

Po­lice find pills, cannabis

Isis Town and Country - - News - By RAE WIL­SON APN NEWSDESK

A YOUNG cou­ple’s de­ci­sion to courier drugs – which po­lice in­ter­cepted at Childers – has left their sons par­ent­less for six months.

Po­lice watched Mark Anthony Dreghorn, now 30, and Melissa Rose-Ann McPhee, 28, ex­change some­thing with a drug traf­ficker, who was un­der sur­veil­lance, at the Et­ta­mo­gah Pub on the Sun­shine Coast on April 7, 2012. Of­fi­cers in­ter­cepted them a few hours later at Childers where they found 1000 pills in the glove box, al­most 10kg of cannabis in one-pound lots (445–453g) in the boot and $5805 cash.

Their new car, which McPhee had picked up from Bris­bane ear­lier that day, was seized and a fur­ther search, months later, un­cov­ered an­other 590 ec­stasy tablets with 12.9% pu­rity (about 25g) con­cealed in the wheel jack stor­age area and methy­lam­phetamines in­side a cig­a­rette lighter.

Dreghorn and McPhee, who met at school and have two sons aged five and eight, pleaded guilty in Bris­bane Supreme Court on Mon­day to a va­ri­ety of drug of­fences af­ter a traf­fick­ing charge was dropped.

The par­ents sobbed as they were led out of the court­room to serve their two-and-a-half-year jail sen­tence. Dreghorn will be re­leased af­ter serv­ing 10 months and McPhee af­ter serv­ing six months.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Sarah Farn­den said the 1000 blue pills, con­sis­tent with an an­tic­i­pated ex­change po­lice heard dur­ing tele­phone in­ter­cepts, turned out to be a cough sup­pres­sant drug found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines.

She said Wikipedia sug­gested the drug had some recre­ational use but it was not un­law­ful to pos­sess the drug.

Ms Farn­den said Mr Dreghorn’s fin­ger­prints were on cannabis and ec­stasy pack­ages and the Crown be­lieved his wife was ac­tively in­volved in the trans­ac­tion.

“There were mes­sages on her mo­bile phone that were drug re­lated and re­fer per­haps to in­com­ing sup­ply be­ing taken back to Mackay,” she said.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Anthony Collins said the young cou­ple had shifted their chil­dren to an­other school in the Mackay area so they could live with McPhee’s par­ents when they went to jail.

He said the pair owned a con­struc­tion com­pany with four em­ploy­ees and had mi­nor drug his­to­ries.

Jus­tice Glenn Martin said he had no trou­ble con­clud­ing there was a commercial el­e­ment to the of­fend­ing con­sid­er­ing the drug quan­ti­ties.

He said he gave McPhee a lower sen­tence “be­cause it is im­por­tant that young chil­dren not be sep­a­rated from at least one par­ent for any longer than so­ci­ety will de­mand”.

“But so­ci­ety does re­quire that these types of of­fences be de­nounced ... through at least the im­po­si­tion of some pe­riod of im­pris­on­ment,” he said.


SEIZED: Po­lice found al­most 10kg of cannabis in the boot of the cou­ple’s car.

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