Airbnb guest runs meth lab right above owners’ heads
A man busted cooking meth in a Brisbane Airbnb was undone by a leaky water pump and a curious host.
Jay Stephen Vella, 28, yesterday pleaded guilty to multiple offences including producing a dangerous drug in excess of two grams.
Brisbane Supreme Court heard in August 2019 Vella booked the self-contained top floor of Capalaba property through Airbnb.
Taking equipment from his car, that included pyrex dishes, caustic acid and acetone, he set up a clandestine meth lab in the home.
The court heard he produced 79 grams of methamphetamine before ducking out to find a replacement water pump which had failed.
The owners of the home, who were still occupying the downstairs area, noticed a water leak coming from upstairs and investigated.
The court heard they discovered an "operational drug lab" where Vella had completed his first cook.
Crown prosecutor Mitch Whelan said the illicit laboratory police team deemed it a category A which is an active lab with "chemical reactions underway".
When Vella returned he had a new water pump, Mr Whelan said.
Police found 191 grams of methamphetamine on Vella and in the apartment.
Vella also pleaded guilty to possessing dangerous drugs stemming from a police raid in November 2018 where he was found with methamphetamine, small amounts of cocaine, cannabis,steroids, cutting agent, several mobile phones and more than $12,500 in cash.
In another police raid in April last year Vella was found with nine grams of pure methamphetamine and 23 grams of cannabis the court heard.
Mr Whelan said all of the offending occurred while Vella was on bail and serving suspended sentences and the worst offences were committed while he was on parole.
"(It) demonstrates he has a real commitment to his unlawful conduct," he said.
Vella's barrister said his clients' offending occurred during the "grip of an addiction" to methamphetamine and he had completed programs while in custody.
Justice Peter Flanagan said the most serious offence was the production of methamphetamine.
"There is no escaping this is serious criminal conduct," he said
He sentenced Vella to seven years jail. He will be eligible for parole in January next year with time already served.
Originally published as Airbnb guest runs meth lab right above owners' heads