Cheese factory turned into immense drug lab

A TOOWOOMBA man will spend at least the next eight years behind bars after police raided his rural property and found enough chemicals to potentially make 2.4 tonnes of methamphetamine.

Christopher John Harper, 54, used an old cheese factory on the Drayton Connection Road at Wellcamp to cook the drugs before transporting it to his property at Millmerran.

Police had raided his Millmerran property in November, 2002, and February, 2003.

He was charged in 2005 with 22 offences including trafficking in dangerous drugs and possessing chemicals capable of producing dangerous drugs.

Harper pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court earlier this month to the decade-old charges, but after a two-and-a-half week trial a jury found him guilty on all charges.

Justice Jean Dalton said on Thursday there had been an unusually long time between his arrest and eventual trial.

"The lack of offending either before or after your arrest on these charges is something I must take into account," she said.

"There is no evidence before me that you have shown any remorse.

"However, there was no evidence either of an opulent lifestyle which you could normally associate with drug trafficking on this scale."

Justice Dalton said the former transport owner and operator was fortunate his offending occurred while there was a significant change in the legislation.

"It is fortunate for you that trafficking in methamphetamines was changed from a schedule two drug to a schedule one drug towards the end of your offending period," she said.

"It means that I have to sentence you on trafficking a schedule two drug which carries a lesser maximum sentence."

Justice Dalton sentenced Harper to 10 years jail for the trafficking offence and five years jail for the remaining offences which are to be served concurrently.

She declared Harper a serious and violent offender which means he must serve at least 80% of his sentence before applying for parole.

Topics:  court crime drugs editors picks trafficking

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Coles turns teal for charity

ON BOARD: Jeremy Kwong, Rhoa Banta, Robyn Stanton, Hayden Smale and Bec Reynolds from Coles Emerald are turning teal in February to help fight ovarian cancer.

Emerald Coles turns teal in support of ovarian cancer.

Learn to meal prep like a pro

IN THE KITCHEN: Learn how to prepare nutritional meals for your week.

Find out more on how to meal prep like a pro.

Leaving a legacy for his sons

Find out about another of the great cars from the Emerald Car Club

Local Partners