Lawless loo dash leads to big meth find for police
IT was a thoughtless dash to the loo that first made police suspicious about a man harbouring a large drug haul.
Mitchell Paul Wilcox, 26, from Elanora on the Gold Coast, was desperate to use the loo when he left his car in a disabled parking spot at the service centre on the Pacific Highway at Chinderah about 11pm on October 15 last year.
Police noticed his car, which lacked the relevant permit, and approached him.
Checks on his details gave police sufficient ground to search his vehicle.
First, they found $790 located in the centre console, then 90.8 grams of methylamphetamine inside a backpack.
Three photo albums concealing more than 1kg of meth between them were also found inside the vehicle.
Wilcox faced Lismore District Court for sentencing on Friday, having earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of drug supply - one relating to a large commercial quantity and the other relating to an indictable amount - and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The court heard two of the leather-clad photo albums found in his car were inside a FedEx package which had been shipped from the United States to his girlfriend's work address in Queensland.
At the time of his arrest, Wilcox had recently returned from five days in California, where he'd attended a funeral.
In an interview with police, Wilcox admitted to having purchased the drugs without revealing their origin.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Warwick Hunt noted the prosecution and defence had agreed upon the fact Wilcox must serve some prison time.
He received a sentencing discount for his early pleas.
Judge Hunt found Wilcox's ice-related substance use disorder and "desire to gamble while intoxicated by that drug" - and the debt that arose from this - had likely contributed to his involvement in the crime.
"It's pretty clear that he became increasingly involved in more sophisticated actions to try to fund his drug addiction and try to recover financially," Judge Hunt said.
The court heard Wilcox had a limited criminal record and this marked his first time in custody.
Judge Hunt sentenced him to six years' prison, backdated to the day of his arrest.
He'll be eligible for parole from October 14, 2022.
The court heard Wilcox was yet to be prosecuted on separate charges in Queensland, relating to other alleged offences involving the same drugs.