News

Pair had drugs, cash

A Mackay couple will spend time in jail after pleading guilty to drug offences in the Brisbane Supreme Court.
A Mackay couple will spend time in jail after pleading guilty to drug offences in the Brisbane Supreme Court. Chris Ison

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 a further 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 yesterday 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 2½-year jail term. 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 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 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.

"They are persons who have been involved to a degree in drug consumption themselves ... but there is nothing which takes this beyond the suggestion they are acting as couriers for another person," he said.

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.

INSIDE THE COURIER CAR

1000 dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) tablets in glove box

9.874kg of marijuana in boot

590 ecstasy tablets weighing 195.7g (12.9% purity)

Small amount of methylamphetamines inside a cigarette lighter.

Topics:  cannabis



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Local footy player fronts court accused of arson

ACCUSED: Matthew James Tanner, 30, appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court charged with arson and animal cruelty. Photo Contributed

Matthew James Tanner remains in custody

New backpacker tax deal welcomed in the North Burnett

Sherrie Breitkopf and Barbara Dell'Orfano are unimpressed by the backpacker tax delay.

The 15% backpacker tax has passed.

Local Partners

'He can see!' Mum's tears as boy fights Taipan bite

TWO-year-old Eli Campbell continues to amaze his parents and doctors as he bravely takes on his recovery from a near-fatal taipan bite.


What's on: Saturday, December 3

Not sure what to do today? We've got you covered

Head to the sugar museum for a sweet taste of history

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the revamped Sugar Museum at Fairymead House is Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fairymead House Team Leader Hayley Vale.

Learn about the industry that made Bundy what it is

List of gigs happening around Bundy

KEY NOTE: Country singer Alex Peden. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail

There's a live show for everyone

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

Leo designs shocker tattoo for Tom Hardy after lost bet

Leonardo DiCaprio has designed a new tattoo for Tom Hardy

Hollywood star at home on the Coffs Coast

FEELING LUCKY, SON?: Scott Eastwood visited the Coffs Coast

Guess which Hollywood star has been seen around the Coffs Coast?

Ricky Gervais: There's 'no point' marrying Jane Fallon

RICKY Gervais "doesn't see the point" in marrying Jane Fallon.

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Prices jump in trio of mining towns

THE boost in coal prices in the past six months has triggered a house price jump in at least three mining towns in Central Queensland.

Boost in coal prices triggers a market turnaround

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!