Accused regional Queensland drug lord faces court
A MULTIMILLION dollar synthetic marijuana operation was allegedly operating through sex shops across regional Queensland.
David Andre Jules Piccinato owned the five Love Heart adult stores in Mackay, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Bundaberg and ran them remotely from his Melbourne home.
Police claim he sold through his stores synthetic marijuana that may have been linked to two deaths in Mackay.
Mr Piccinato applied for bail in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday charged with trafficking, producing and possessing dangerous drugs.
He was extradited from Victoria on Thursday and proposed to live in Victoria if granted bail.
Because of the length of the bail hearing it was adjourned until Thursday, January 21.
Mr Piccinato's lawyer Adam Magill said his client's mother lived in Rockhampton - but may be involved in the case as the former owner of the adult store chain.
Police allege there were 31 hospitalisations and two deaths in Mackay before police raided Mr Piccinato's store. Hospitalisations ceased after the raid.
Mr Magill said his client had not been charged in relation to the deaths and it was "farcical" to suggest he had been.
Police evidence includes phone intercepts, staff interviews, financial records, covert purchases as well as seized synthetic marijuana. The financial records show Mr Piccinato made more than $2 million of sales.
Mr Magill said allegations Mr Piccinato ran a drug syndicate were undermined by him being charged alone.
Police allege Mr Piccinato instructed staff on what to say to police and how to hide products in the case of a raid and opposed bail, claiming he may interfere with those witnesses.
- APN NEWSDESK