Concerns accused drug trafficker would do a Mokbel
A MEMBER of an alleged million dollar drug syndicate operating out of Rockhampton was deemed as much a flight risk as notorious drug lord Tony Mokbel.
The 34-year-old man, who grew up on a cattle property at St Lawrence before moving to Rockhampton when he was 19, applied for bail in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday in relation to 15 drug charges laid on Tuesday, including four of trafficking.
Doug Winning, solicitor for the accused, suggested his client, Brendan Arthur Lynch, could forfeit his passport, among other bail conditions, to satisfy the police prosecution's concerns.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Shaun Janes, opposed bail, saying police had observed Lynch fly to Hawaii during the investigation and were also concerned he would contact his co-accused and witnesses if released on bail.
Mr Winning and Magistrate Mark Morrow both referred to Mokbel - who was a fugitive for 14 months until his capture in Greece and had been on trial for drug trafficking at the time of his disappearance - during their discussion about Lynch's level of flight risk.
Lynch is one of four main people of interest in the alleged drug syndicate, and one of 10 arrested by police after operation Oscar Battledore, an eight-month investigation that wound up yesterday.
His other charges include five counts of supply dangerous drugs and three counts of possessing dangerous drugs.
Detectives charged 10 people with drug offences after drug operation Oscar Battledore closed.
The operation commenced in September 2016 as a result of information supplied to Crime Stoppers. Police executed search warrants at six houses in the Rockhampton area this week with 10 people arrested on 67 charges.
Snr Cons Janes said the evidence showed four people at the top of the network, including Lynch and Brenden Michael Manitzky, who appeared in court earlier this month.
Manitzky, 30 faces six serious drug-related charges, including three counts of supply, after a car he was driving was stopped by police for an RBT on the Leichhardt Highway near Dululu and a search uncovered 1kg of ice, 7.9kg of cannabis and 170g of cocaine worth $1.2 million.
Police will allege Manitzky was the courier, driving the drugs from Sydney to Rockhampton.
Snr Const Janes said the network did not sell anything less than 3.5 grams of methamphetamines, worth $1000, at any given sale.
He said the highest amount sold during the investigation period was 28 grams worth $8000.
The court heard the network were also selling MDMA (ecstasy) tablets. The most amount of cannabis sold was worth $3600 (0.453 kilograms).
Snr Const Janes said during a seven-day period late last year, an undercover police officer purchased cocaine, methamphetamines from Lynch and his one of his co-accused on six occasions.
The court heard the co-accused told police he was making $220,000 a month selling drugs.
Snr Const Janes said one conversation intercepted by police involved members of the network talking about a "clean-up crew" being sent from Sydney to Rockhampton.
Mr Winning argued the evidence showed the accused was involved in criminal activities, but not necessarily in organised crime.
"The evidence is unclear at this stage," he said.
Mr Winning said his client's rental property was searched by police on Tuesday and they found $6000 cash in the house and a further $1000 elsewhere, but no weapons and no drugs.
He said Lynch's criminal history was unremarkable - he only had one breach of a court order against him in 2015.
Mr Winning said Lynch had worked full time since leaving school for one employer and was paying child support for his six-year-old daughter as well as financially assisting his ex-partner.
Magistrate Morrow granted Lynch bail on the grounds he surrender his passport, report to police daily and had no further contact with his co-accused or witnesses.
He also ordered a $10,000 cash surety be paid before Lynch was released on bail.
He is due to appear in court on May 24 for a committal mention.
Further to Lynch's arrest, police this week arrested a 60-year-old man who also lived at The Range.
He has been charged with four counts of trafficking dangerous drugs, 18 counts of supply dangerous drugs and four counts of possessing dangerous drug.
He is expected to appear at the Rockhampton Magistrates Court today..
A 37-year-old Park Avenue woman has been charged with three counts of trafficking dangerous drugs and two counts of possessing dangerous drugs.
She is expected to appear in court on April 10.