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Man rents Airbnb unit to create an intricate Breaking Bad-style meth lab

A convicted drug dealer has been busted for cooking meth in Breaking Bad-style lab at an Airbnb unit he rented from the owners who lived downstairs.

Jay Stephen Vella booked the self-contained unit in Capalaba, south-east Brisbane, in August 2019.

The 28-year-old came to the unit prepared, bringing items from his car to construct the makeshift lab including pyrex dishes, caustic acid and acetone.

The Brisbane Supreme Court heard on Monday that Vella had cooked 79g of methamphetamine before the owners noticed water leaking from the apartment, The Courier-Mail reported.

The couple investigated and found the clandestine set up while Vella was out buying a new water pump to stop the leakage.

Crown prosecutor Mitch Whelan said police deemed the lab a ‘category A’ – an active laboratory with ‘chemical reactions underway’.

When Vella returned to the property with a new water pump, police swooped and found 191g of methamphetamine on the dealer and in the apartment. 

The court heard that Vella had twice before been subject to police raids which indicated involvement in the drug trade, and that they had performed while he was out on bail or serving suspended sentences.

In November 2018, officers found him with methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis, steroids, cutting agent, a number of mobile phones and more than $12,500 in cash.

Another raid in April last year saw Vella caught with nine grams of pure methamphetamine and 23 grams of cannabis.

His barrister argued his client committed offences while in the ‘grip of an addiction’ to ice and had undergone help programs while in custody.

Justice Peter Flanagan said: ‘There is no escaping this is serious criminal conduct.’

Vella pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years’ jail. He will be able to apply for parole in just five months, taking into account time already served.

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