4 March 2024

Queensland man set to face trial in Wagga over $15m methylamphetamine seizure

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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courthouse building and seized meth

Luther Blake is set to face trial at Wagga Wagga District Court in April. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen/NSW Police.

A Queensland man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs and possessing prohibited drugs after Riverina Highway Patrol seized $15 million worth of methylamphetamine following a car chase near Tumblong last year.

Luther Blake, 27, fronted Wagga Wagga Local Court on 28 February. He pleaded not guilty to both charges in front of Magistrate Don McLennan, who set his trial date for next month.

The police report said Highway Patrol officers detected a Kia Carnival passenger van allegedly travelling 144 km/h in a 110 km/h zone on the Hume Highway at Tumblong about 10:15 am on 16 February, 2023.

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Police stopped the vehicle to speak with the driver, David Russell, 30, who underwent a roadside drug test.

When he returned a positive result, police say, they attempted to arrest him, but the driver sped away from the scene and a pursuit ensued.

The vehicle came to a stop after tyre spikes were deployed near Attwood Road in Burra Creek, and Russell and his passenger, Blake, allegedly ran from the vehicle into a nearby paddock.

Following a short foot pursuit, the men were arrested nearby and taken to Cootamundra Police Station.

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Police searched the vehicle and seized 60 kg of methylamphetamine with an estimated potential street value of $15 million, a rifle magazine and ammunition to undergo forensic examination.

Russell was charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, possessing prohibited drugs, two counts of police pursuit, not stopping, driving at speed, driving a motor vehicle while licence suspended, and escaping police custody.

He had his bail application refused and will remain in custody until his next court appearance in Wagga Wagga Local Court on 10 April.

Blake will remain in custody and has been ordered to appear in Wagga Wagga District Court for arraignment on 5 April.

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