‘Fidgety’ drug courier’s behaviour leads to $100K bust
Fidgeting and talking fast led to police discovering a drug courier's secret stash of about $100,000 worth of methamphetamines hidden in the wall of a Landcruiser.
The behaviour made a Rockhampton police officer suspect the Townsville businessman had something to hide and he called for back up to attend the closed Shell service station on Gladstone Rd at 3.30am on October 8, 2018.
As a female police officer retrieved a yellow bag from the car interior wall, the drug courier - Nathan Aaron Turner, made a dash and lunged at the police officer in an attempt to retrieve the bag containing 269.9 grams of meth.
Turner, the owner and operator of Rollingstone Rural Services, was on bail for drugs and weapons charges from Townsville when he was located with a female and child in the Landcruiser parked at the closed service station.
Turner, 34, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton on February 16, 2021 to one count of possessing a dangerous drug in excess of 200 grams, along with possessing cocaine, a pipe, a knife, scales and other items used in the commission of a drug crime.
The facts of Turner's offending were put on the record as Justice Graeme Crow handed down an eight-year prison term, declared 708 days presentence custody and set a parole eligibility date of September 6, 2021.
The initial officer stumbled across Turner after noticing the Landcruiser parked at the service station, with the front doors open and Turner in the front passenger seat.
A female was in the driver's seat and a child was in a rear seat.
They claimed they had stopped to use the toilets and the car belonged to Turner's partner.
Turner became more nervous when the police officer requested back up.
Turner told the officer about a knife concealed under the driver's seat and he was detained while the car was searched.
Along with the meth hidden in the interior panelling of the vehicle, police located a Commonwealth Bank EFTPOS machine in the front passenger footwell, 0.367 grams of meth, 0.56g of cocaine and a glass pipe in the glove box.
Three clip-seal bags containing small amounts of meth, totalling 0.277 grams, were also located in a pink/orange bag, along with two sets of electronic scales.
Turner told police he last injected meth that morning.
A mobile phone and laptop seized by police were unable to be unlocked.
Townsville police executed a search warrant that day on Turner's Balgal Beach business and personal residence, locating a shortened rifle, 42 rounds of .22 ammunition, three mobile phones, a glass pipe, scales, and a locked gun safe which was bolted to the ground.
Reports made in court when Turner made a bail application after his arrest for the 270g of meth suggested police also located an all-terrain vehicle belonging to Ergon Energy at the North Queensland property.
Defence barrister Scott Moon pointed to Turner's criminal record which showed a seven-year hiatus from criminal activity, claiming his employment record and long-term relationship were crime deterrents.
"There is significant hope of rehabilitation for this man because of the hiatus," he said.
Mr Moon said the breakdown of the long-term relationship had an impact on Turner.