Aussie wine bar owners charged with possessing illegal drugs

Wine bars are often a safe haven for some Australians, but the recent charges of a bar owner in Queensland who allegedly held a bottle of alcohol in her hands while customers were drinking has sparked outrage in the community.

Wine bar owner Kym MacNeil was charged with one count of possessing an illegal drug, the equivalent of possessing drugs above the legal limit of 15 grams, and was due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Kym MacNeal, 44, who was arrested at her home in Cairns on Monday night, has been charged with possession of an illegal drugs and one count each of possessing alcohol and a firearm.

She will appear in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on the following day.

The charges stem from a police search of her home last month that resulted in the seizure of three bottles of wine, one of which contained more than 100 milligrams of MDMA, police said.

The wine bar owner was not charged with any offences involving drugs, police spokesman Detective Inspector Greg Smith said.

“The search and seizure of these three bottles led to the discovery of an unlawful drug cache that was stored in the wine bar,” he said.

“The wine in question was an illegal controlled substance and the two bottles contained more then 100 milligsrams of a controlled substance.”

Detective Inspector Smith said MacNeil, who works in a cafe in the area, was charged after the police searched her home, which she owns with her partner and two children.

“When the police entered the property, they found that a large amount of alcohol had been stored in a wine bar, which is illegal under Queensland law,” he told the ABC.

Police said they were unable to identify any other property involved in the alleged illegal drug operation.

MacNeil was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of alcohol with intent to supply, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Ms MacNeil is due to stand trial in October.

Anyone who has information about this case or any other crimes related to illegal drugs should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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