Police make $400,000 drug bust

POLICE got more than they bargained for when they busted an alleged drug courier carrying about $400,000 worth of speed in his car during a routine roadside check.

Officers seized the drugs and arrested the driver – a former soldier – after stumbling on 886g of methamphetamine, along with amounts of anabolic drugs and clenbuterol, on the Bruce Highway near Gin Gin on Thursday.

Jason Damien Gaerlan, 26, yesterday faced Bundaberg Magistrates Court, where police asked for him to be kept behind bars for his own protection, fearing the intended recipients of the drug haul may be a threat to him.

“This is obviously an organised operation and these drugs will be sought by the persons they were intended for,” police prosecutor Senior Constable Fiona Ward told the court.

“It is believed that Mr Gaerlan is a courier in the operation and, if released, may continue these duties within the organisation.

“It is for this reason, as well as for his own protection and welfare, that prosecution opposes bail.”

She said the haul was estimated to be worth about $400,000 and was intended for distribution to others further down the line in the drug trade.

Gaerlan indicated he would plead guilty in the Supreme Court to seven charges including possessing dangerous drugs, supplying dangerous drugs, possessing anything used in the commission of dangerous drugs, and possessing utensils.

Barrister David James said Gaerlan had served in the army for five years, with tours of duty in Iraq and Timor.

“His role in this operation is at the bottom of the rung,” Mr James told the court.

“He has no criminal history and he is just a courier in this.”

Mr James said the prosecution’s argument about Gaerlan’s safety was unnecessary.

“There is no evidence that there is any threat to him and it’s not likely the people involved will be contacting him,” the barrister said.

“This seems to be a one-off foolish thing.”

Magistrate Jennifer Batts granted Gaerlan’s bail under the conditions he reside at his Idalia home, near Townsville, report to the police station three times a week, surrender his passport and make no efforts to leave the country.

The matter will be mentioned again on December 17.

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