Bodybuilding Champ Convicted for Operating Drug Lab in Rehab Centre

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A renowned bodybuilding champion, Luke McNally, cried foul after being convicted of operating a drug laboratory when he was supposed to be recovering at a rehabilitation facility. The former Mr Australia stood before the Victorian County Court for a pre-sentence hearing subsequent to a jury’s ruling, convicting him on 28 counts which included trafficking a considerable quantity of narcotics and possessing precursor substances.

This verdict was the outcome of a police probe into a covert lab situated at the Wellbeing Planet rehab centre in Melbourne’s inner-east in December 2019. McNally was on bail and residing at the centre, formerly known as the Daily Planet brothel, when the charges were brought forth.

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The prosecution divulged to the Court that surveillance footage caught McNally involved in the preparation of drugs during “six weeks of intense activity” prior to the police crackdown leading to the closure of the lab.

Matthew Page, McNally’s legal representative, informed the Court that the accused initially felt positive about his rehabilitation efforts but soon recognized the centre as a “hub of drug activity”. McNally, he claimed, was coerced by members of organized crime to establish the drug lab.

The saga continued in Wallan, a town 45km north of Melbourne, after a mishap then took place at the original lab. McNally was found manufacturing narcotics once again in another facility, this time at the Wellbeing Planet rehab centre.

In a letter, McNally admitted to working in these labs to settle drug debts and finance additional drug acquisitions. Mr Page lauded McNally as a “highly accomplished entrepreneur” who had turned his talent in bodybuilding into Mass Nutrition, a flourishing supplements company. He also mentioned McNally’s commendable service in the NSW Fire Service including “several acts of heroism”.

Unfortunately, the trauma from his time in the service led to PTSD, according to Mr Page, resulting in McNally’s methamphetamine dependency and his subsequent “downfall”.

As the case was adjourned by Judge Rosemary Carlin to pass a final sentence later in the year, intense discussions were held regarding the evidence seized and the seriousness of McNally’s crimes. The defence representative reasoned a lesser sentence arguing the low purity of the seized substances, while the prosecution deemed the operation methodical and evidenced by the numerous drug-making apparatus and precursor elements apprehended.

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