A target of a Bendigo police drugs investigation has been charged with trafficking ice.
Joshua Taylor was refused bail in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court this week on charges of trafficking methamphetamine and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Detective Acting Sergeant Andrew Heazlewood told the court Mr Taylor had been the target of a Crime Investigation Unit drugs and firearms investigation since October.
On Tuesday, police attended a Flora Hill address and while speaking to the occupant, heard a person – who they believed was Mr Taylor – leave in a rush through the back of the house.
Police found in a shed during a search of the property items including 23 grams of methamphetamine, the action of a .22 rifle adapted for a pistol, cartridge ammunition, magazines, deal bags, about $2000 in cash, tick sheets allegedly in Mr Taylor’s handwriting, scales, medication prescribed to Mr Taylor, and a wallet containing Mr Taylor’s proof of age card.
Police also found a rifle, a sawn-off shotgun and an extendable baton in a Subaru parked outside the home.
A Holden Commodore outside the property was also searched.
The occupant of the home told police he rented the shed to Mr Taylor and did not know what was in it.
On Wednesday, officers saw the same Holden Commodore outside a Golden Square home.
Mr Taylor was inside and was eventually arrested.
The court was told a police search of the home and vehicle uncovered $655, methamphetamine and a tablet.
Detective Acting Sergeant Heazlewood alleged there were multiple Facebook conversations referring to drug trafficking and firearms.
He said a Facebook message Mr Taylor allegedly sent to another man showed a picture of a sawn-off firearm with the words ‘tick tock’ superimposed on it, and a message asking about receiving “coin”.
He alleged this referred to a drug debt owed to Mr Taylor.
The man who received these messages reported to police he was thrown out of a car, Detective Acting Sergeant Heazlewood said, and police had received information he was allegedly taken against his will earlier by Mr Taylor and others over a drug deal.
Detective Acting Sergeant Heazlewood said another man also told police he was scared of Mr Taylor because of a drug debt.
Mr Taylor told police he had not run from the Flora Hill address, and denied any involvement with the vehicles at that address.
He also denied being in possession of drugs.
Defence lawyer Kate Youngson submitted there was no evidence linking Mr Taylor with the items found in the Subaru in Flora Hill.
She said the majority of evidence against Mr Taylor was circumstantial and the police had engaged in a lot of conjecture.
Ms Youngson said Mr Taylor had left his wallet and medication in the shed inadvertently while visiting the Flora Hill home, which she said had a lot of visitors.
The meaning of the Facebook message was not clear-cut, she said, and under questioning, Detective Acting Sergeant Heazlewood said the firearm in the photo had not been located.
Ms Youngson said Mr Taylor would contest the charges and this would lead to a long time in custody for him if bail was refused.
She said Mr Taylor would live with his mother in North Bendigo and while he was unemployed, he could look into doing odd jobs for friends, as he had in the past.
But magistrate Michael King said compelling reasons to grant Mr Taylor bail had not been shown, and refused bail.
Mr Taylor was remanded in custody to appear in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court via video link in February.
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