Cocaine hidden in miner’s toolbox

COCAINE concealed in clip seal bags inside a toolbox at Emerald Carrying Company led a recreational drug user to have his head bowed in front of his elderly mother.

Leon Denton, 43, pleaded guilty on April 30 in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to one count of possessing a dangerous drug in excess of two grams and one of possessing an item used in connection with a drug crime.

The court heard police executed a search warrant at Emerald Carrying Company on July 19 last year and found three clip seal bags containing 3.2g, 27.34g and 3.2g of cocaine belonging to Denton, who works as a fitter and turner at a Central Queensland mine.

Police then searched Denton's home and seized his phone. An app had been deleted from it, but police were able to recover information that showed Denton had used the app to purchase drugs.

Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said Denton made admissions about using an app on his phone three or four times to order cocaine.

She said he had returned clean drug tests carried out by his employer since he started working at the mine in 2014, but had not undertaken any drug counselling since his arrest.

Defence barrister Greg McGuire said his client used cocaine "spasmodically'' and had not used the drug during work weeks, only on weeks off.

"This has caused enormous stress over the past 10 months … especially for his elderly mother," Mr McGuire said.

The court heard Denton migrated from England when he was seven and followed his father's footsteps into the mining industry.

He has been living in Emerald since 2005.

Justice Graeme Crow said reference letters submitted by Denton showed people he had known a long time were shocked to learn that he used illicit drugs.

Denton, who had no criminal record, was sentenced to two years' prison, wholly suspended and operational for three years.