‘Strong smell of cannabis’ led to 84kg haul, court told
A STRONG smell of cannabis led police to search a truck where they found about 84kg of the drug, a court has heard.
Phu Long Tien, 24, and Quan Khai Tran, 23, from the Brisbane suburb of Inala, were arrested last Thursday night after police allegedly found cannabis secreted in the rear of a pantech truck which was stopped while travelling north on the Pacific Highway at Ewingsdale.
Defence barrister Varinder Pawar applied for both men to be released on bail when the case went before Byron Bay Local Court on Monday.
Neither of the accused were required to enter pleas to their charges of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and drug possession.
The court heard Mr Tran was driving the truck, which is registered in his name.
Mr Pawar suggested strict bail conditions for Mr Tran and said $30,000 surety was available for each accused.
"In my position the main issue at trial would be the search and the legality of the search," Mr Pawar said in relation to Mr Tran's charges.
Magistrate Karen Stafford said, on the information before her, there was "an extremely strong prosecution case with no real problem in regard to the legality of the search".
Mr Pawar suggested fewer bail conditions in Mr Tien's case, arguing as the passenger of the truck the prosecution case against him was weaker.
Police prosecutor Chris Martin said it was agreed Mr Tien was the passenger but argued there was a strong case against him.
Sgt Martin said police would allege there was a "strong smell emanating from the vehicle, including the glove box" and while Ms Stafford accepted there was "a weakness" to the prosecution case against Mr Tien, she refused bail for both men.
The court heard Mr Tran, who has a wife and two children, is an Australian citizen and was working as a tiler before the COVID-19 pandemic saw his work dry up, while Mr Tien is a student, on a working visa.
Ms Stafford refused bail for both men and adjourned the case to January 18.