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An out-of-sessions court hearing at the Footscray Police station on Wednesday night was told the estimated street value of the drugs, 19kg of heroin and six kilograms of metamphetamine, was $44 million.


A suitcase containing $160,000 was also found in the car in Cumberland Drive, Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s inner west.

The court heard that during a 48 hour operation, codenamed Lithium, police had arrested two other men and had seized drugs that took the total value of to $60 million.

In two separate hearings before a bail justice, 43-year-old Thi Tran of Maribyrnong, and 34-year-old Manh Dao of City Rd, Southbank applied for bail but were remanded in custody until Thursday when they will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Both were charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of heroin and methamphetamine, known as ice, and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dale Flynn, head of the Drug Taskforce, said that in his 23 year police career, 13 years of them working in the major drugs area, he had never seen a seizure of drugs as big.

He told the court that Tran and Dao had been seen talking next to the BMW with another woman, called Cindy, at 4.19am (AEST) on Wednesday before they were approached by police.

Tran’s handbag was found in the BMW but she said she had lost it the previous day and did not know how it came to to be in the car.

A barefooted Dao said he had been told to go to the Crown Casino on Tuesday where an unidentified man gave him a mobile phone and the keys to the BMW and would be told where to drop it off.

Through an interpreter Dao said he was unaware that drugs and cash were in the car.

“If I had known the contents of the suitcases I would not have allowed the police to search the car,” Dao said.

The court heard that Tran, who has two teenage children, one them who suffers mild autism, is on Centrelink benefits.

Dao is in Australia on a prospective spouse visa.

Det Sen Sgt Dale Flynn opposed bail saying both were flight risks and had access to large sums of money.


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