Ice hidden in dirty clothes
AS FAR as hiding spots go, the washing machine is probably not the best place to secrete away $70,000 in methamphetamine.
Still, former north Queensland bikie Damien Squizy Van Taarling gave it his best shot.
Sadly for him, the load of dirty clothes was not enough to dupe police when they raided his Brisbane home in October 2018.
The 33-year-old one-time Cairns resident fronted Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday, pleading guilty to a range of offences including drug possession and weapons charges.
He was sentenced to eight years in prison and will be eligible for parole in October 2021.
The court heard Van Taarling was the subject of a Queensland Police operation while he was on parole for previous drug offences.
"I got nothing to say," he told cops when they arrived on the doorstep of his Kallangur home to execute a search warrant. Officers found a small amount of dope in his pocket but the motherlode - 336.2g of the drug ice with a street value of $70,000 - was discovered inside a backpack hidden beneath laundry in a washing machine.
They also found 43 strips of Buprenorphine and a small amount of MDMA.
Van Taarling was charged and - because he was on parole - returned to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.
During yesterday's court appearance, Justice Martin Burns made note of Van Taarling's plea to not judge the defendant by the distinctive ink marking on the man's face.
"I have been told the court should not be misled by your facial tattoo," Justice Martin said.
"I can assure you I am not misled by your facial tattoo."
Justice Martin said Van Taarling's father was murdered when Van Taarling was a toddler and that the former Shepparton resident had experienced violence and homelessness as a youngster.
"You have had a difficult history - you have experienced much tragedy and suffering in your early life," Justice Martin said. "You have for a long time struggled with drug addiction and for a long time given into the temptation to serious drug offending.
"You have a long way to go in your rehabilitation - there is much more work to be done.
"You need to become determined to live a life away from drugs."