Caf­feine pills sold as ec­stasy tablets

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Roanne John­son roanne. john­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

A YOUNG cou­ple has been caught out sell­ing caf­feine pills off as ec­stasy to buy­ers who be­lieved they were party drugs.

Even though the tablets did not con­tain il­licit sub­stances the pair have still been charged as le­git­i­mate nar­cotics sup­pli­ers un­der the Drugs Mis­use Act 1986.

Leon Matiu Hikawai Suck­ling, a 2 4 - y e a r - o l d e l e c t r i c i a n , pleaded guilty yes­ter­day in the Townsville Supreme Court to three counts of sup­ply­ing a dan­ger­ous drug and one count of us­ing a mo­bile phone in the com­mis­sion of a crime.

The de­fen­dant’s de facto partn e r , s t a y - a t - h o m e m o t h e r Tacita-Lee Hal­dane Hor­man, will ap­pear on May 30 in the same court to face charges of sup­ply­ing and pos­sess­ing a dan­ger­ous drug.

C r o wn p r o s e c u t o r C l a i r e McKin­non s a i d Townsvill e po­lice raided the Ross River Rd BUSTED: Leon Matiu Hikawai Suck­ling and Tacita-Lee Hal­dane Hor­man leav­ing court yes­ter­day prop­erty of Suck­ling and his 20-year-old part­ner in Cran­brook on May 22, 2010.

Around 95 tablets were found and the de­fen­dant ad­mit­ted he pur­chased the batch in the be­lief they were the real deal, con­tain­ing MDMA.

A mo­bile phone was found with text mes­sages about the sup­ply of 10 pills for $ 25 on three oc­ca­sions from April 9 to May 2 2 . De­fence bar­ris­ter Greg Lyn­ham com­pared Suck­ling’s mat­ter to a grass clip­pings case where an of­fender was sen­tenced for sell­ing off the trim­mings of his lawn as cannabis.

‘‘ My client thought he was sell­ing ec­stasy and was charged ac­cord­ingly,’’ Mr Lyn­ham said.

Jus­tice Kerry Cul­li­nane said the case was un­usual but gave Suck­ling a 12-month jail term, wholly sus­pended, ex­plain­ing that he was still guilty even if, un­be­knownst to him, the pills weren’t au­then­tic.

How­ever the judge said he was u n c e r t a i n h o w S u c k l i n g ’ s buy­ers were fooled into think­ing they were pur­chas­ing ec­stasy then re­turned time and time again for the caf­feine tablets.

‘‘ It’s a bit sur­pris­ing he can sup­ply 10 pills on April 9, an­other 10 on May 21 and then the very next day they come back for an­other 10 . . . ,’’ Judge Cul­li­nane said.

Acting of­fi­cer-in-charge of the North­ern Re­gion Drug Squad, A c t i n g D e t e c t i v e S e n i o r - S e r g e a n t Br a d P h e l p s , e x - plained af­ter the sen­tence that fake drug deals could be hard to de­tect for buy­ers.

‘‘ The pills look like ec­stasy but only con­tain caf­feine and a cut­ting agent,’’ Act-Det Sen-Sgt Phelps said.

How­ever he warned that a per­son sell­ing drugs, re­gard­less of their au­then­tic­ity, would be com­mit­ting a drug of­fence.

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