Dean Poot (25), from Bendigo, was arrested in a police raid on his home at Gumnut Rise on May 17. Poot is the alleged leader of a drug dealing syndicate in Bendigo who imported drugs from the dark web. On Wednesday, the 25-year-old’s bail was refused by Bendigo Magistrates’ Court, he is facing 7 charges including trafficking methylamphetamine and interfering with witnesses.
According to Sergeant Brent McGuire, of the Central Victoria Response Unit, the gang stole identities of other persons and used them to fraudulently use the victims’ bank accounts to trade in bitcoins and import meth from overseas. McGuire added that they even drove one bank account into $88,000 in debt. The syndicate operated through central Victoria and used a network of couriers and associates to distribute meth.
Police say when they arrived at the house of Poot, co-accused Zachary Murray allegedly held a sawn-off shotgun cocked and loaded while Poot loaded up a computer, which allegedly contained evidence of the online transactions made by the gang. Law enforcement authorities seized 75 grams of meth, $20,000 in cash, fake driver’s licenses, Medicare and credit cards, large amounts of chemicals including 3 kg of potassium nitrate and allegedly stolen property located at the address. Police even found evidence in the form of a photo of Poot holding a “large rock” of meth.
Police estimate that Poot imported around eight ounces of meth on May 6, valued at $100,000, using an address in Flemington. The address was not the only one the gang used for delivery in Melbourne, court documents say.
Another raid on the property of co-accused Ray Dillon (26), of Hammill Street, Kangaroo Flat, uncovered 30 grams of meth, $4300 cash and ammunition for firearms.
According to McGuire, Poot was likely to continue his offending if he was released on bail:
“He poses an unacceptable risk to the public as the head of a large ice ring in central Victoria. He also has the knowledge and capacity to create false identities. There are concerns he would interfere with the ongoing investigation.”
Two co-accused in the case, Zachary Murray and Daniel Patullo (26), were released on bail. Dillon, the third one, has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.
Russell Kelly, defending Poot, said evidence against his client in relation to the computer was unclear at the current stage, and it could take months for it to be analyzed. According to him, the delay could mean spending months in custody for the alleged gang leader before the case would move forward, suggesting strict bail conditions:
“The principal issue is one of delay. We have no idea when the prosecution will have a hand-up brief put together. 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,” Kelly said.
Magistrate Peter Mithen stated that Poot failed to comply with “previous court orders, the potential for a custodial sentence and the possibility of interfering with witnesses” meant the bail was opposed. Poot was remanded in custody to appear in court at a later date.