'Chicken powder' drug cook faces court
A drug addict who had read his father's chemistry books as a teenager downloaded information from the internet to make the deadly designer drug PMA, a court heard today.
Known by the street names "Chicken Powder" and "Chicken Yellow", the drug PMA (para-Methoxyamphetamine) can be lethal in high doses and has been blamed for a number of deaths worldwide.
Last month, Queensland police linked the drug to three deaths.
Pills containing PMA have included batches known as Louis Vuitton, Mitsubishi Turbo and Blue Transformers.
Sam Doble, 34, of Ocean Grove, pleaded guilty in the County Court today to one count of possessing substances used to manufacture PMA with the intention of trafficking, one charge of possessing pre-cursor chemicals, one count of possessing a drug of dependence, and one count of being a prohibited person possessing an unregistered Browning pump-action rifle.
Prosecutor James Fitzgerald told the court that when police raided a property in Mollison Street, Kyneton, on May 14, 2010, they found Doble sitting at his desk researching chemicals on his laptop computer.
He had a clandestine drug laboratory in his bedroom with glassware, equipment and chemicals.
An analysis of the web pages downloaded on Doble's computer revealed he had accessed 57 articles discussing illicit substances and another 38 on general chemistry.
When interviewed by police, Doble admitted he was making PMA.
Defence lawyer Lee Ristivojevic told the court Doble was manufacturing the drug for his own use.
He had been addicted to ice and amphetamines for more than 10 years and used drugs to take away his inhibitions as he was awkward and shy.
His father had an alcohol problem when he was growing up and Doble's three brothers no longer wanted to have anything to do with him because of his past drug use.
"They see him as a deadbeat, down-and-out drug addict," Ms Ristivojevic said.
She said Doble, who had turned his life around since his arrest and was now drug-free, had been trying to take a different chemical pathway to make PMA when caught by police.
Doble's father had been a chemist and had given him his chemistry books when he was a teenager.
"Chemistry is something that comes quite easily to him," Ms Ristivojevic said.
"He can remember chemical formulas and all sorts of things off the top of his head."
The plea hearing before Judge Liz Gaynor continues.
PMA first came into circulation in the early 1970s, where it was used as a substitute for LSD.
The effects of taking PMA include accelerated and irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and hallucinations.