Judge sends strong message to Dragon Dreaming drug takers

Police found four different types of drugs in the German woman's white van at the entrance to the Dragon Dreaming festival. Photo: Hannah Sparks
Police found four different types of drugs in the German woman's white van at the entrance to the Dragon Dreaming festival. Photo: Hannah Sparks

A young German woman fined for taking four types of drugs into the Dragon Dreaming festival may have to change her travel plans.

Lena Wokoeck, 22, a German national, pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing a prohibited drug when she appeared in Goulburn Local Court on November 7.

The drug testing operation by NSW Police outside of the Dragon Dreaming festival. Photo: Hannah Sparks

The drug testing operation by NSW Police outside of the Dragon Dreaming festival. Photo: Hannah Sparks

Police facts tendered in court said on November 1, a NSW Police drug detection dog indicated a prohibited substance at the front cabin of Wokoeck’s mini van.

Police searched the vehicle and found two grams of cannabis leaf in a backpack, which Wokoeck said was hers.

Police continued to search the mini van’s front cabin and found a small, clear resealable plastic bag in a makeup case containing 0.5 grams of a fine, coloured powder.

Police asked Wokoeck, who said, “Yes, it’s mine, too, and it’s a bit of ketamine.”

You could have killed yourself. If that happened, you wouldn’t be flying home. Your family would be flying to Australia to pick you up.

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie

Police resumed their search and found a small pencil case with another plastic bag containing 5g of MDMA (ecstasy).

Wokoeck said, “Oh wow, they are mine, but I didn’t think I had any more.”

A further search was conducted and police found another plastic bag containing magic mushrooms.

When police spoke to Wokoeck about what was found, she said, “Yes, they are mine, too.”

In court, Wokoeck’s solicitor said she had forgotten that she had some of the drugs in her possession and was cooperative and apologetic to police.

Wokoeck is an overseas visitor from Germany and is due to return home at the end of this month.

In court, Wokoeck’s solicitor said, “She has almost to no capacity to pay a fine as she’s travelling.”

The police prosecutor said it was a serious matter as people could die taking drugs at festivals, and a message needed to be sent to the community to deter taking drugs, especially when attending music festivals.

Drug detections at the festival 'were higher this year than ever before'.

Yass Police Inspector Alison Brennan

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said she was concerned that Wokoeck had been found in possession of four types of drugs, even though the quantities were small.

“That festival is held every year and every year there are a large number of drug charges,” Magistrate Beattie said. “Sadly, there was a tragedy there a couple of years ago when someone took drugs and died.

“You had ketamine, which is a drug for horses, and ecstasy,” she said. “You don’t know what was in any of that and yet you were prepared to take it.

“You could have killed yourself. If that happened, you wouldn’t be flying home. Your family would be flying to Australia to pick you up.”

Magistrate Beattie fined Wokoeck $900 and told her the four convictions would now be on her record.

Yass Police Inspector Alison Brennan said the amounts found through drug detections at the festival “were higher this year than ever before”.

“Police and organisers have agreed it was a positive outcome that those drugs did not make it through the gates,” she said.

Three festival-goers from Victoria have been refused bail on charges to possess and supply a prohibited drug and are due to appear in Goulburn Local Court soon.

The first to appear on November 14 will be a 41-year-old male who was carrying various substances, “a number of which were between indictable and commercial quantities,” Inspector Brennan said.