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Bright spark signs up for power used in drug house

WHEN you help a mate move you might expect a six-pack, not a $5000 fine.

Donald George McDougall, 25, helped his friend "Pedro" move into a house in Camira.

During his trip a group of people, which was moving into the house, told him they would be growing some cannabis.

They also said they'd been blacklisted from getting power connected. McDougall, thinking he was doing a good deed, offered for the power to be put in his name.

On December 15, 2012 police raided the house.

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Although no one was home they found an elaborate hydroponic set-up for growing cannabis. It spanned three rooms in the house.

Nearly 300 plants were growing and their combined weight was more than 17kg.

Power conduits had been installed from the power box to each of the bedrooms.

An analysis of the property found McDougall's fingerprints on two lamp shades and the power bill in his name.

He was arrested by police and denied knowledge of the drug operation. When told his fingerprints had been found on the set-up he told police he had helped move the lights into the house and had been told drugs would be grown, but was unaware of the sophistication of the set-up.

He pleaded guilty in the Ipswich District Court to producing dangerous drugs in excess of 500g.

The court heard he had received a massive power bill from the house, which the residents had failed to pay. He is still paying the bill off. Defence lawyer Joshua Jones said McDougall's involvement was incredibly limited.

"The criminality involved is at the absolute, extreme bottom of the scale," he said.

"He had no idea of the scale. He received no benefit.

"He's also now got an extensive debt for the power bill, which he allowed to be put in his name."

Judge Deborah Richards said she accepted McDougall was involved at a minor level and hadn't gained from the drug operation. He was fined $5000.

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Topics:  ipswich district court, producing a dangerous drug



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