News

Alpaca farm raid nets 30kg marijuana plus cash

WHEN police raided an alpaca farm near Warwick earlier this week, they were searching for evidence in one of the state's most notorious cold case investigations.

Instead, the search led police to another property at Massie, where they found at least $300,000 in cash, a .22 rifle, and 30kg of marijuana, worth up to half a million dollars.

The owner of the Massie home, Thomas Edward Martin, was remanded in custody yesterday afternoon after being charged with trafficking and possession offences.

The 66-year-old did not appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court, and did not apply for bail. Police expect to lay more charges before his next appearance on Tuesday.

Detective Inspector Mick Dowie from the Queensland Police's homicide cold case unit described the bust as a "bonus" find made in the renewed investigation into the 1974 disappearance of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne.

He said Martin was a long-term associate of Vincent O'Dempsey, a former associate of Billy McCulkin, Barbara's estranged husband.

"We're aware that he has previously worked for Vince O'Dempsey and been an associate of Vince O'Dempsey for quite some time.

"To my knowledge he's been employed in various roles and been associated with Mr O'Dempsey in different roles over a period of time.

"Our focus is 100% remained on solving the mystery around the disappearance and presumed murder of the McCulkin women.

"These are obviously bonuses for our investigation and the safety of Queensland - to take these drugs off the street."

 

Det Insp Dowie said Martin lived at the property with his wife and young child.

Australian Federal Police drug and currency detection dogs were used during the raid, which discovered cash hidden throughout the home.

Det Insp Dowie said he believed the drugs were intended for wholesale distribution.

"The way that they were packaged suggests they were wholesale traffickers…the way they were packaged in 500g blocks," he said.

"He has a wife and a young child who we will be speaking to but not at this point in time.

"Logically, (the cannabis) wouldn't be [grown] too far from there you'd have to think."

HAUL: Detective Inspector Mick Dowie with the seized drugs and money at Toowoomba Police Station yesterday.
HAUL: Detective Inspector Mick Dowie with the seized drugs and money at Toowoomba Police Station yesterday. Nev Madsen

Topics:  drugs editors picks massie toowoomba magistrates court



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