Airlie Beach cafe owner revealed as alleged cocaine pusher
AN AIRLIE Beach cafe owner is accused of pushing drugs to his mates after he was allegedly found with more than six grams of cocaine.
While on bail for charges of aggravated drug possession and supplying cocaine, the 27 year old was allegedly found with hallucinogenic mushrooms and a large amount of cash which police allege points to a commercial venture.
But James George Kontis is disputing allegations the $10,000 in cash is proceeds of drug offending.
"He can provide evidence as to where the cash came from," defence solicitor Peta Vernon said during a bail application in Proserpine Magistrates Court on Monday.
Mr Kontis is the part owner of Le Shack, a cafe, travel and scooter hire businesses in the heart of Airlie Beach, which opened about six weeks ago.
The court heard a search of his Shute Harbour Rd business over the weekend turned up 3.4 grams of mushrooms and the $10,000 in cash stashed in a cupboard - he has pleaded not guilty to the charge linked to the money.
"It's not like it was found at his residence," Ms Vernon said, adding some of the money had been withdrawn to pay work bills and his father had given him a cash loan
"I'm instructed he had a couple of wins on pokie machines in the weeks proceeding the search … one was in the middle of September, he won about $2000 and again in early October … he won about $2000.
"He will be able to obtain receipts in relation to those winnings."
In pushing for bail release Ms Vernon said, "It is possible for a person in his position who has no prior history that even on a plea of guilty he might not actually serve any time in custody on these offences."
However, prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors argued the latest charges came soon after Mr Kontis has been charged with drug supply and possessing 6.3 grams of cocaine.
The court heard Mr Kontis had claimed to police "he forgot" the mushrooms were at his workplace and did not intend to use them.
Sgt Myors said it was a strong crown case - police were alleging commerciality in relation to the money that was discovered after he had been charged with supplying cocaine.
"On his own admissions … he's supplying his friends with dangerous drugs," Sgt Myors said.
"That's the concern your honour that he's just continuing with his business of supplying drugs."
The court heard the initial drug supply and possession charges were listed for committal mention in February next year.
Magistrate James Morton said the money "laying around is very suspicious", but ultimately granted bail on residential conditions, weekly reporting and a curfew between 7pm and 5.30am.
All charges will be mentioned on February 22.