Chemical compound used in rocket propellant passed off as 'ice'

A LISMORE court case revealed that a chemical compound used in fertilizers, rocket propellant, fireworks and smoke bombs was to be sold in Casino as a fake batch of methamphetamine.

Steele Harley Martin, 24, of Casino appeared in Lismore Local Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to possessing drug equipment and two counts of drug possession.

The unemployed man also pleaded guilty to break and enter under $60,000.

Martin was arrested and charged with possessing 0.2g of methamphetamines (ice), 6.5g of cannabis and a glass smoking pipe on January 15, "for personal use".

When police searched a Barker St, Casino, home on January 15 they found a bag with 3.6g of powder they identified as "MSN" mixed with brown food colouring.

The substance, which police say Martin was going to sell to a friend as ice, was 'monosodium nitrate' (correctly named sodium nitrate), also used as a flavour enhancer or food preservative.

Studies suggest nitrosamines can have damaging effects on DNA when taken in large quantities, but the risks of using the substance in the way that methamphetamines are used are unknown.

Casino was recently identified as the "ice hub" of the Northern Rivers during a regional police drug operation targeting amphetamines.

Martin's case was adjourned for mention on July 14.


Risky Business

'Ice' use can cause:

  • Paranoia
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Chronic sleep problems
  • Heart, lung and kidney problems
  • Other risks

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