66kg drug haul allegedly hidden in moving boxes
DRUGS found in a truck on the Pacific Highway near Bangalow were mostly concealed within moving boxes, a court has heard.
Manh Thang Nguyen, 36, from the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, was arrested and charged with serious drug offences after police stopped him on the Pacific Highway near Bangalow on the morning of January 16.
It was an "edge line offence" that brought him to the attention of police, according to court documents.
After being stopped, a roadside drug test detected cocaine and methylamphetamine in his system, Byron Bay Local Court heard on Monday.
Mr Nguyen has not yet entered pleas to his charged of supplying a commercial amount of a prohibited drug and two counts of drug possession.
His barrister, John Peluso, told the court while Mr Nguyen was a sole occupant of the truck which allegedly had a "significant quantity" of cannabis in the rear, there was nothing incriminating found on his client's person.
The court heard three mobile phones were located in the cab of the truck along with the 66.42kg of cannabis which was inside 130 bags, some within packing boxes and some in a bag at the vehicle's rear.
The court heard the drugs had an estimated street value of $550,000.
According to court documents, police also found $630 in cash in the truck's cabin and 8g of methylamphetamine in a tool bag.
In applying for bail, Mr Peluso said his client had two children, including one who was 10 weeks old, and that losing his income would be difficult for his family.
He said it would be more difficult for his client, who required a Vietnamese interpreter for the court proceedings, to give instructions to his legal representatives from custody.
"There's a surety to the sum of $50,000 that can be paid," he said.
"That can go higher to $70,000.
"There are conditions that could be imposed that could allay any fears about non-attendance."
The police prosecutor, Sgt Martin, opposed bail, saying while a brief of evidence wasn't due to be filed until March 16, the police statement of facts they currently relied on suggested a strong prosecution case.
"The was a DNA application (and) I understand items in the back of the truck are being analysed which in my submission will strengthen the prosecution case," he said.
Magistrate Karen Stafford acknowledged the defendant had no criminal record and was a "person of good character" but also took into account that there were drugs in his system at the time he was pulled over.
"In my view, based on the facts that are before me now, this is an overwhelming crown case," she said.
"He was the sole occupant.
"He was in possession of three mobile phones which is an indicia of supply."
She said it was well known the Pacific Highway was "used as a major thoroughfare for people transporting drugs from one state to another".
She refused bail and adjourned the matter to March 23.