A Vietnamese national accused of crashing a van carrying 38 kilograms of cannabis near Wangoom has been released on bail with a $20,000 surety.
Trung Nguyen, 32, of Melbourne’s Cairnlea, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Friday charged with trafficking and drug-related offences.
Mr Nguyen was bailed with strict conditions including he not enter or remain in Warrnambool or the geographical area west of Geelong, abide by a 6am to 9pm curfew, he surrender his passport, not do drugs, not leave Victoria and the $20,000 surety.
Mr Nguyen was initially charged with commercial trafficking but that charge was amended to trafficking.
Police allege a hire van was located after a single-vehicle accident on the Hopkins Falls Road, east of Wangoom, on December 3.
The driver was not injured and picked up by another motorist.
The cause of the accident is not known. The van was seized and forensically analysed.
A search of the van revealed a bag containing 11.3 kilograms of cannabis and another weighing 21.6 kilograms – a biologist said the second bag was filled with a mix of cannabis and an unidentified material.
Police also located 97 rubbish bags filled with potting mix and stems, 62 high powered light bulbs and fertilizer.
Nguyen allegedly returned to collect the van and was subsequently arrested.
The court heard Mr Nguyen had evidence on his mobile phone of possible drug growing properties in Victoria.
Police allege he has a number of leased properties in his name, including a house in Cobden.
The landlord of that property confirmed a rent deposit and bond had been paid in the days before Mr Nguyen’s arrest, but no one was residing at the property.
Mr Nguyen, who was accompanied by a Vietnamese translator, will appear in court again in March.
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