By Kirra Grimes
THREE men were arrested on drugs charges following a police raid at a Walkerville property on Monday morning this week, April 15.
A 45-year-old Walkerville man, a 34-year-old Bentleigh East man, and a 50-year-old Brunswick man were arrested at the property on Walkerville Road just after 8am where a large-scale police operation allegedly located a significant quantity of dried cannabis and an external drug crop growing on the property.
Following the arrests, the three men were conveyed to the Wonthaggi Police Station to be interviewed by Bass Coast CIU detectives.
The 45-year-old Walkerville man and the 34-year-old Bentleigh East man were both charged with possession and trafficking of a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence, and cultivation of a non-commercial quantity of a drug of dependence.
Both men were remanded in custody to appear at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court this morning, Tuesday, April 16.
The 50-year-old Brunswick man was charged with possession of a non-commercial quantity of a drug of dependence. He was released on summons to appear at the Korumburra Magistrates Court on Thursday, June 20.
Police would not confirm the address of the property that was the subject of the search warrant, or the names of those arrested.
However, police cars, both marked and unmarked, were seen accessing a property at 2075 Walkerville Road between the hours of 8am and 1pm where it is alleged the offences were committed.
A police helicopter was involved, reportedly conducting surveillance, not only on this property, but also others in the area.
According to public records, available via the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website, the property at 2075 Walkerville Road, known as ‘Marapana Farm’, which features a small vineyard, a residential building and several outbuildings, is owned by Ansevata Nominees Pty Ltd.
According to the minutes taken at the South Gippsland Shire Council’s March 28, 2018 meeting, Ansevata is “a company owned and controlled by the Rich family, which includes a current (South Gippsland Shire) Councillor, Cr Jeremy Rich”.
Cr Rich’s public LinkedIn profile also lists him as a former Group Managing Director of ‘Marapana’ J. Rich & Partners, a managing director at Walkerville Vineyard (located at Marapana), and a director of Ansevata.