A former gym junkie who allegedly established a clandestine meth lab out of a rehab clinic has made a bold move to re-enter another facility.
Police allege Luke McNally, who was once named Gold Coast’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, set up a drug lab inside a rehabilitation clinic based at the former site of Melbourne’s infamous Daily Planet brothel.
McNally once operated a $40million business running the booming Mass Nutrition supplement brand, which at its height boasted 45 stores spanning Australia and New Zealand.
Luke McNally, 32, was the CEO of the Mass Nutrition supplement business
The former Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year once made about $40million annually
The Daily Planet was once a well-known brothel in Elsternwick in Melbourne’s inner east. When it was replaced by a rehab clinic, locals claimed it still looked very much like a brothel inside
But McNally’s fall from grace has been long and spectacular and seemingly hit rock bottom in 2017 when it was revealed he was living with his mum while awaiting serious drug charges.
On Wednesday, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard McNally now faces 43 new drug charges over allegations he was operating multiple meth labs across Victoria, including one within the Elsternwick rehab clinic.
He had been on bail at the time while awaiting sentence in the County Court of Victoria over other serious drug offences.
Supreme Court Justice John Champion had been duped by McNally into bailing him to the clinic on the pretext he would be treated for his drug addiction.
Instead, police allege McNally, helped along by the management of Wellbeing Planet, went about building a drug lab with the help of other drug-addicted residents.
The court heard police had the rogue clinic under surveillance and were listening to McNally carry out his alleged illicit trade.
They raided the former brothel in December 2019 and made multiple arrests.
A shotgun allegedly stamped with McNally’s fingerprints was among a treasure trove of illegal booty the police confiscated.
The muscle-bound 32-year-old sold the business in 2016 ‘due to bad publicity’
At its height the brand boasted 45 stores spanning Australia and New Zealand
At the time, nearby residents claimed little appeared to have changed from the building’s old days as a seedy brothel.
‘It was still decked out as a brothel. It had a large entertaining room with a bar, billiard tables, gaming machines and paintings of naked women on the walls,’ a local told the ABC.
‘Every room we went into had multiple beds, group showers, mirrors on the walls and on the ceilings above the beds.
‘There is no access to daylight, no windows, no general amenity that you might want in a facility like that. The exact opposite in fact.’
On Wednesday, a bloated McNally attempted to be released from his current residence at Marngoneet Correctional Centre to another rehab clinic – this time in Shepparton in Country Victoria.
Prosecutors opposed the application, claiming McNally had shown little regard for court orders in the past and was likely to reoffend.
The court heard a warrant was still out for McNally in Queensland after he skipped bail on drug charges there and fled to Melbourne.
His dad had put up a surety of $200,000 to try and secure his son’s release.
Magistrate Sue Wakeling told McNally it was clear police had a strong case against him, declaring he had played a ‘pivotal role’ in the operation.
McNally in fitter times. He appeared larger on Wednesday while addressing the court from jail
Locals claimed the rehab clinic appeared to closely resemble the old Daily Planet brothel (pictured), which it replaced
He had been in jail for eight months when he was released into the custody of the clinic by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Ms Wakeling said McNally claimed he had been failed by the managers of the clinic, who failed to deliver on promises to get him off drugs.
‘The applicant is now charged along with one of the program managers and other residents in relation to the significant drug manufacturing activity, which took place in and out of that program,’ she said.
McNally was refused bail and will remain behind bars until his next court appearance.