Drug accused refused bail



ENOUGH chemicals to cook-up about one tonne of crystal methamphetamine is alleged to have been stored in a laboratory which Federal police raided on Thursday, Lismore Local Court heard yesterday.

The "ice" laboratory was located on a large property with several dwellings, one of which was rented by 32-year-old Scott McConalogue.

McConalogue is one of seven men in custody after a Federal Police raid of the remote property west of Murwillumbah last week.

Police arrested McConalogue and another co-accused during the raid and arrested five men in Lennox Head, Brisbane and Sydney.

Federal Police claim it to be the largest crystal methamphetamine laboratory ever found in Australia.

The men have been charged with conspiracy to manufacture commercial quantities of controlled drugs and conspiracy to pre-traffic commercial quantities of controlled precursors.

Yesterday McConalogue applied for bail in Lismore Local Court but was refused.

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Ben McMillan, opposed bail saying McConalogue is alleged to have been patrolling the property with a dog when the raid took place.

"He was the only person on the property...it is not conceivable that he was not involved," Mr McMillan said. "It's an extremely sophisticated cooking operation and Federal Police are still dismantling it."

Mr McMillan told the court McConalogue would pose a serious risk of interfering with witnesses and was likely to fail to appear. Each of the men are facing life imprisonment for the alleged conspiracy.

"This conspiracy involves the biggest production of crystal methamphetamine Australia has ever seen," he said. "Police allege there were 400 litres of pre-cursor chemicals in the lab (enough to make one tonne of ice)."

McConalogue's solicitor Sophie Anderson argued her client had no prior criminal record.

Co-accused Michael Brown, 62, of Burrandana, and Benjamin Wuyts, 60, of Lennox Head, also appeared but made no application for bail.

The three men will reappear on June 20.

A fourth co-accused, Kane Holland, will appear in Lismore Local Court today for mention.



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