'Cook' was protected
A MAN who cooked meth for a major drug trafficking ring allegedly headed by the Rebels Motorcycle Gang wept in the dock yesterday as he was sentenced to four years jail.
The Hervey Bay District Court heard Christopher Errol Mackie had agreed to cook for the gang's key distributor in exchange for "protection" from a member he felt threatened by.
The 38-year-old father of two was arrested in August last year as part of a special police operation code-named Ice Bobcat which targeted the trafficking of meth and fire arms associated with outlaw motorcycle gangs.
On the day police raided Mackie's home three children were present.
Inside the home they found equipment used in the production of methamphetamine, a small amount of the drug and 156 tablets containing the key ingredient pseudoephedrine.
Firearms and ammunition were also found in the home and on Mackie's boat at the Hervey Bay Marina.
He was arrested and charged with producing, supplying and possessing dangerous drugs and possessing firearms.
Mackie's arrest followed months of intelligence gathering including 36 phone intercepts between him and the distributor.
The court heard his involvement in the operation had been significant as he had not only cooked the drugs, but also assisted in business meetings with other suppliers, meeting deadlines for orders and organised a hire car for the drugs to be picked up.
Judge Leanne Clare said she acknowledged there was "bad blood" between Mackie and a gang member and the decision to cook for the operation was made in an effort not to make money but to stop the harassment.
She said she had some familiarity with the gang member in question based on previous court cases.
But she also noted the possession of firearms including sawn-off shotguns and the potential danger he had placed his children in, particularly since the lab was in the family home.
She said methamphetamine was drug which caused "misery" in the community, destroyed lives and the production of it could not be treated lightly.
Mackie will be eligible for parole in 18 months.
The man who allegedly hired him has been committed to the Maryborough Supreme Court on drug trafficking charges and is awaiting trial.