Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Jail for Marijuana Grower, 66; Crops Planted after Tough Times

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Jail for Marijuana Grower, 66; Crops Planted after Tough Times

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Thorpe

UNTIL this week, Adrian Cornelis Flikweert had no criminal history whatsoever.

The 66-year-old will now spend 15 months behind bars after police discovered a massive cannabis production operation on his Ambrose farm.

Flikweert was sentenced in Gladstone District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to trafficking in dangerous drugs, producing a dangerous drug in excess of 500g, and possessing dangerous drugs in excess of 500g.

His operation was discovered in December 2016 when Gladstone and Mount Larcom police executed a search warrant at his and his brother Lionel's adjoining properties.

After searching his brother's house and finding nothing, police spotted the two men and Flikweert's wife Babylyn emerging from nearby bushland.

Officers on trail bikes then spotted a black irrigation pipe and followed it deep into the bush.

It led them to one of the largest drug production operations in the region's history.

Flikweert was growing two cannabis crops, one six rows wide and about 40m in length, and the other seven rows wide and 40-50m long.

There were 1676 plants in total, irrigated by a 20,000 litre water tank.

Next to the two plots was a drying area covered in camouflage netting with five large bags of cannabis, drying cannabis leaves, soil-testing kits, gardening tools and a generator.

With more marijuana inside Flikweert's home, police confiscated a total of 17.83kg of the drug, along with $5060 in cash.

When questioned, Flikweert made full admissions to police about the business model and scale of the operation, and admitted to having sold two previous seasons' crops over the previous two and a half years, for a gross profit of about $75,000 each.

Though he did not give up the names of his customers, he admitted to employing his brother Lionel, who was convicted in August, to help him out by trimming buds for an hourly rate.

Flikweert's wife Babylyn was also aware of the operation, though the court was told she was new to the country and he had told her marijuana was legal to grow in Australia. …

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