December 20, 2019

Sydney University student fronts court after being caught turning his flat into a meth lab

A THIRD-YEAR chemistry student at Sydney University turned his inner-west flat into a drug lab using equipment stolen from the university.
When he wasn't in class studying for a pharmacology and chemistry degree, Andrew James Tague was busy making methamphetamine and other drugs in his one-bedroom flat using glassware stolen from the university, Sydney District Court has heard.

The 25-year-old, who took a drug design and development class, built a drug lab so elaborate it took workers three days to dismantle.

Court documents said Tague stole "unique" glassware labelled "3rd year use only" that was made using machinery at the university.

When police raided his Petersham unit, Tague told them he was "conducting scientific reactions at home from things learnt at school" and that he was "trying to hone his chemical skills", court documents said.

Inside they found a treasure trove of drugs including methamphetamine, cannabis, testosterone, ecstasy and cocaine, much of which was produced in the clandestine drug lab.

Tague was arrested and has entered pleas of guilty to four drugs charges including manufacturing a prohibited drug and supplying a prohibited drug.

Tague allegedly kept records of his methodology, which police found on his laptop.The computer contained "hundreds of photos" including images of previous methamphetamine yields and photos of cannabis crops drying on racks in his kitchen.

The laptop also contained photos of a person with "chemical burns" which Tague sustained while making the drugs, a police fact sheet tendered to the court said.

Police also found recipes for methamphetamine and notepads with "extensive hand-written notes" detailing "complex drug manufacturing methodologies", the court heard.

In his bedroom was a cupboard converted to grow cannabis in which Tague had installed hydroponic equipment and heating lamps. The cupboard contained eight cannabis plants.

Police also found 136g of cannabis and another 40g of cocaine in a Tupperware container under Tague's pillow.

Tague came to the attention of police acting under Strikeforce Polmont, which had been monitoring Tague after he was noticed buying scientific glassware from overseas.

He is on remand and will be sentenced on June 24.

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Hugo Aston

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