Alleged Bendigo drug kingpin refused bail

Dean Poot leaves the Bendigo Magistrates' Court in custody on Wednesday. Police allege he was the head of a central Victorian drug syndicate.
Dean Poot leaves the Bendigo Magistrates' Court in custody on Wednesday. Police allege he was the head of a central Victorian drug syndicate.

THE accused head of a sophisticated central Victorian drug syndicate allegedly stole the identities of people to import the drug ice to Bendigo from interstate and overseas using the “dark web”, a court has heard.

Dean Poot, 25, had his bail bid refused in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, facing seven charges including trafficking methylamphetamine and interfering with witnesses.

Police allege Poot was the head of a drug syndicate which used a network of couriers and associates to distribute ice throughout central Victoria.

He was arrested during a police raid on his residence on Gumnut Rise, Strathdale, on May 17.

When police arrived at the property, co-accused Zachary Murray allegedly held a sawn-off shotgun cocked and loaded while Poot loaded up a computer, which police say contained evidence of the online transactions.

Police uncovered 75 grams of ice, $20,000 cash, fraudulent driver’s licences, Medicare cards and credit cards, large amounts of chemicals including three kilograms of potassium nitrate, and allegedly stolen property at the address.

Sergeant Brent McGuire, of the Central Victoria Response Unit, told the court Poot allegedly used the identification to steal the identities of people and fraudulently use their bank accounts to trade in bitcoins – an online form of currency.

He said the syndicate allegedly drove one bank account into $88,000 in debt.

The computer was seized and will be examined in the coming months, with allegations Poot used the “dark web” – an anonymous and unregulated part of the internet – to import drugs.

Police allege Poot imported eight ounces of ice on May 6, valued at $100,000, using an address in Flemington. The address was one of many in Melbourne used to receive packages, it is alleged.

A photograph of Poot holding a “large rock” of ice was also tendered as evidence.

A subsequent raid on a property of co-accused Ray Dillon, 26, on Hammill Street, Kangaroo Flat, uncovered 30 grams of ice, $4300 cash and ammunition.

Sergeant McGuire said Poot was likely to continue his alleged offending should he be released on bail.

“He poses an unacceptable risk to the public as the head of a large ice ring in central Victoria,” he said.

“He also has the knowledge and capacity to create false identities.

“There are concerns he would interfere with the ongoing investigation.”

Two co-accused – Zachary Murray and Daniel Patullo, 26 – were released on bail. Third co-accused Dillon has been sentenced to 12 months jail.

Defence counsel Russell Kelly said evidence against Poot in relation to the computer was unclear at this stage, and it could take months for it to be analysed.

He said the delay meant Poot could spend months in custody before his case moved forward, suggesting strict bail conditions could be imposed.

“The principal issue is one of delay. We have no idea when the prosecution will have a hand-up brief put together,” Mr Kelly said.

“Because of the complexity of the computer analysis… the prosecution cannot say who will be investigating.

“There’s a lot of strong allegations, it remains to be seen what evidence is in those allegations.”

Magistrate Peter Mithen said Poot’s failure to comply with previous court orders, the potential for a custodial sentence and the possibility of interfering with witnesses meant bail was opposed.

Poot was remanded in custody to appear in court at a later date.