Amamoor drug crop brings $10,000 fine

A BUSINESSMAN with interests in Adelaide and Amamoor was fined $10,000 and given a suspended jail term in Gympie District Court yesterday, for knowing about a drug crop being grown on his land.

Stevan Semak, 51, pleaded guilty to permitting premises to be used for a commercial drug operation and to possessing steroids which were not purchased by him, but which were in his possession.

Judge G Long imposed a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for three years, in addition to the fine, which he ordered must be paid by August 19.

The court was told Semak, now a grandfather, owned a substantial property with two houses, in Moorhouse Gully Rd.

He was also the primary carer for his 12-year-old daughter in Adelaide.

When police raided the Amamoor property on November 30, 2014, Semak was maintaining a residence there and was dividing his time between living there and in Adelaide, where he had a successful cosmetic tattoo business.

The court was told this involved procedures including tattooing eyebrows on women undergoing chemotherapy.

Judge Long noted the production was predominantly associated with the other house, which had been leased out to another person until not long before the raid.

"The cannabis was located at five different sites," the judge noted in his sentencing remarks.

"There were three separate sites which had been cleared and tended in different areas of the property.

"The property was of a significant area, some 60 acres," he said.

"In a shipping container and in a garden shed there were some 28 pot plants found to be cannabis.

"The total 214 cannabis plants are a substantial quantity weighing up to 20kg with the roots removed."

The crop was "obviously being produced for commercial purposes."

Judge Long said he was also taking into account that Semak had not been present in Queensland at the time of the raid but, on hearing of it, returned to Queensland to facilitate the police investigation of the charge.

The judge said he also took into account Semak's early plea of guilty after case conferencing which eliminated a charge of unlawful possession.

He accepted that the steroids had been ordered on the internet by another family member.

A co-accused was still living at the Amamoor property.

Judge Long said a previous conviction in 2002 had resulted in a 12-month suspended jail sentence and this was also a relevant sentencing factor, as was Semak's financial capacity to pay the fine.