Local police bust drug factory

A MAN found with a crop of 128 hydroponic marijuana plants on his Booyal property has been fined $1200.

Dean James Keys, 46, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to producing and possessing dangerous drugs and unlawfully possessing a weapon.

Police went to the scaffolder's home for another matter about 4pm on April 16 and noticed a shed that had no windows, with airconditioning and ducts protruding from the outside walls.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said the officers became suspicious.

Before investigating the shed, another man arrived who police said smelled strongly of cannabis.

The two men were detained while police entered the shed, where they found a “sophisticated hydroponic set-up” with 128 marijuana plants.

They ranged in size from 5cm to 50cm.

Sgt Stevens said the plants were in starter pots and that fertiliser, empty pots and a watering system were found.

“The timber walls were also lined with plastic,” Sgt Stevens said.

Police moved to the house, where they found another plant opposite the bed where Keys said he slept.

They also located another marijuana plant in a shed where the other man said he slept.

The officers found an air rifle which Keys claimed that he used the gun to “shoot small animals on his property”.

Sgt Stevens said a stolen generator was being used to power the hydroponic set-up.

Magistrate Jennifer Batts fined Keys $1200 and ordered the forfeiture of all illegal items including the air rifle.

His co-accused, who also faces charges, will appear in court next week.

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