Court hears of $550,000 ecstasy syndicate claims

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    Court hears of $550,000 ecstasy syndicate claims

    A BENDIGO man police say was involved in a local drug syndicate which had allegedly planned to distribute more than half a million dollars of ecstasy pills has been refused bail.
    Clint Sendall, 33, of Bannister Street, North Bendigo, was one of nine people arrested last week as a result of drugs raids in and around Bendigo, and the first to appear in the Bendigo Magistrates Court.

    Sendall, who runs an automotive business, is charged with conspiracy to traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence and other drug related offences.

    A Bendigo Divisional Response Unit spokesman said Sendall’s involvement in the investigation came to light last month when police intercepted a number of phone conversations.

    The spokesman told the court yesterday that on September 11, Sendall accompanied a co-accused to Melbourne where they picked up eight ounces of amphetamines from an unknown supplier.

    “We believed on this occasion . . . one ounce was to be given to Sendall,” he said.

    He said police believed that on September 24, Sendall was involved in sourcing 22,000 ecstasy tablets, which if sold at the standard price on the street of $20 to $25 a tablet, would amount to about $550,000.

    Sendall’s lawyer Robert Timms said there was no hard evidence linking Sendall to the charges.

    “The case against my client is based on circumstance and interpretation,” Mr Timms said.

    “(During the phone conversations) there were no mention of tablets, not even any mention of ecstasy or amphetamines . . . they could have been talking about 22,000 strawberries.”

    Mr Timms argued that Sendall should be released on bail due to exceptional circumstances.

    He said Sendall was unlikely to flee because he had ties to Bendigo including his six-year-old daughter, who was in Sendall’s care before he was arrested last week.

    Magistrate Bruce Cottrill disagreed.

    “Exceptional circumstances must be exceptional and these matters are not exceptional,” he said.

    Mr Cottrill said although the evidence may be circumstantial, it showed a pattern of behaviour that clearly linked Sendall to drugs in the community.

    Sendall was remanded in custody to face court again on January 20 for a committal mention hearing.

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