Police believe an Eaglehawk house containing more than 200 cannabis plants is tied to a criminal syndicate, a court has heard.
A man accused of involvement in the crop house, Anh Tung Hoang, applied for bail in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, having been charged with cultivating a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant and trafficking a commercial quantity of a narcotic plant.
Police found 223 cannabis plants, weighing 192 kilograms, at a Jobs Gully Road house on August 19.
The court heard Mr Hoang was allegedly linked to this address through fingerprints found on items in the home, two laptops that contained user names belonging to him, and a box for an LG phone that listed the same IMEI number as Mr Hoang's phone, which was found at his Tarneit home.
The informant alleged call charge records also put Mr Hoang in the location, he was intercepted on the Calder Freeway heading towards Bendigo three times, and supermarket CCTV showed him purchasing items found at the Jobs Gully Road house.
He also told the court that items found at Mr Hoang's Tarneit home matched those found at the Eaglehawk house, including charcoal filters, bamboo stakes and electrical equipment.
A storage unit allegedly rented in Mr Hoang's name contained other items used in cultivation, the court heard, including shrouds, light globes and charcoal filters, as well as stalks of cannabis plants.
The informant described the Eaglehawk crop house as a "large-scale enterprise" and said the equipment found there would have cost over $100,000.
This led police to believe the crop house, and Mr Hoang, were linked to a larger criminal syndicate, he said.
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He alleged Mr Hoang continued to buy items used in cultivating cannabis between the raid on the Jobs Gully Road and his arrest, so police believed he was involved in other growing operations.
The informant said Mr Hoang, a Vietnamese citizen, was on a bridging visa and had no ties to Australia.
He told the court bail was opposed because Mr Hoang posed an "extreme" flight risk and could turn to cultivating cannabis on his release, and the proposed bail address was not deemed to be suitable.
During cross-examination by defence lawyer Charles Nikakis, the informant said there was no CCTV footage of Mr Hoang attending the storage unit due to a non-operational camera, and no evidence he was involved in procuring the Jobs Gully Road house.
Mr Nikakis said the alleged role of his client in the cannabis-growing operation was yet to be determined.
"That in turn then means it's not a matter that's going to be dealt with quickly," he said, adding the matter could carry on into 2022 or 2023.
Mr Nikakis submitted Mr Hoang faced the possibility of spending more time on remand than he would be sentenced to if found guilty of an offence, and this delay alone made out the exceptional circumstances required to satisfy bail.
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He said his client had the support of friends and family in the community, and any risks could be managed by bail conditions.
But prosecutor Esther James said defence had not made out exceptional circumstances.
She said Mr Hoang was facing two "very serious" charges and the evidence suggested he was more than a "crop-sitter".
There was a "strong inferential case", Ms James said, that this was a large operation.
Magistrate Megan Aumair denied Mr Hoang bail, finding there were no exceptional circumstances.
She said evidence suggested Mr Hoang was doing more than managing a crop, and the court had heard no evidence he was supported by someone of good character.
Ms Aumair also said Mr Hoang presented an unacceptable risk of failing to appear on bail.
He was remanded to appear back at court in January.
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