Drug squad surveillance uncovers false job claim

COVERT electronic surveillance by drug squad detectives in Albury uncovered a reference provided by former Chiltern man Luke Matthew Peake to the NSW Probation and Parole Service was false, a court heard yesterday.

Peake was charged with drug offences last year, pleaded guilty earlier this year to some of them and was due for sentencing in Albury Local Court on May 13.

A pre-sentence report was ordered and Peake provided a letter from Jayme Craze, the director of Southern Civil Constructions in North Albury, to a Corrections officer, who took a copy.

It said Peake had been employed by the company for two years, was earning $800 a week and worked 30 to 45 hours weekly.

The corrections officer made several attempts to contact Craze and the calls were not returned.

Drug squad officers laun- ched Strike Force Ednie in December last year to monitor Craze for alleged involvement with ice.

Phone intercepts revealed the false reference and Peake sent a text message to Craze on the day of his sentencing.

It asked Craze to contact the Corrections officer and said: “It is very important. If he doesn’t think I have a job, I will be locked up today.”

Magistrate Tony Murray fined Peake more than $3000 and put him on bonds for two years after he was described as “a bottom-tier user-supplier”.

Peake, 34, of Whitely Circuit, Baranduda, appeared in custody on a charge of acting with intent to pervert the course of justice.

Solicitor Jim Allen made a release application, which was opposed by police prosecutor Sgt Rowan Harris.

The court was told in tendered facts recent attempts were made by officers to have Peake attend the Albury station, but he failed to arrive.

Detectives from Albury went to the Wodonga police station on Monday and spoke to Peake, advising of an arrest warrant for him in NSW.

Peake agreed in Wodonga Magistrates Court to his extradition to NSW and was subsequently interviewed.

He said the reference was delivered to his home and he noticed some inconsistencies in it, but he didn’t read the whole document.

Mr Murray released Peake on $2000 bail, with a similar surety, and a condition not to contact Craze.

The case returns to court on September 22 after the preparation of a police brief by September 9.