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$290k drug haul found

A STANTHORPE man who stockpiled more than 14kg of marijuana has told a court his windfall was a result of a surprise good season following the floods.

Officers from Warwick, Stanthorpe and Goondiwindi raided Lawrence William Morris' Sugarloaf property on August 1.

They uncovered 14.509kg of the drug, about eight grams of seeds, a machine used to seal the drug, electronic scales and plastic bags.

Ten kilograms of the haul were located in drums hidden in "dense bushland" on the property and was described as being of "higher quality" than the remaining material.

The remaining items were found inside a house on the property.

The 51-year-old sawmill owner admitted to growing the drug but refused to tell police where he had done so.

During proceedings in the Warwick District Court yesterday, Crown Prosecutor Noel Needham told the court the sheer volume of the drug indicated Morris may have grown the drug for more than his own consumption.

Mr Needham conceded there was no other evidence to support his claim, telling the court the haul could have sustained a "heavy user for three to four years".

Defence lawyer Phillip Crook told the court the usual indicators of drug supply, including cash, mobile phone evidence or phone lists were absent from this case.

Mr Crook told the court his client was an "amateur" marijuana grower who was surprised when his crops "flourished" after a good wet season.

Judge David Andrews accepted the submission that Morris had grown the drug for personal use and did not share or sell the spoils.

"It was submitted by (Morris) that (the marijuana) was not for commercial use and the material (Morris) produced was much more than (he) expected because it was a wet season," he said.

Morris was sentenced to 15 months jail but was paroled immediately.

Topics:  court, drugs, marijuana, warwick district court




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