Trio in court over drug raid

DRUGS, guns, almost a dozen motorbikes and a carpet python were among items seized by police during a raid on a Bunkers Hill property last December, a court has heard.

Johannes Hoogstra, 61, Troy Benjamin Downing, 28, and Benjamin James Kors, 22, appeared together in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday over the items, however the cases of Hoogstra and Downing had to be adjourned.

The court heard that on December 19 last year police raided the trio's Bunkers Hill property, which was said to have been littered with drugs, including a two room hydroponics setup in a shed at the rear.

In one of those rooms police found five mature cannabis plants in black tubs, and four small seedling cannabis plants in the other.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Ivan Blomeley said officers also discovered 11 motorcycles of different brands, a scooter, two ride on lawn mowers and a chemistry set.

More than half a kilogram of cannabis was also found in various locations.

Leading Senior Constable Blomeley said the property was seized as police believed it was the proceeds of crime, however some has since been returned.

Representing all three men, defence lawyer Mike Wardell said the trio had come to live together through family friends after Hoogstra first bought the house about 12 months ago.

He said that Kors and Downing had "snapped up the opportunity to move out to Bunkers Hill and live in the country".

Mr Wardell admitted that Kors had suffered trouble with drugs.

"There is no doubt that Mr Kors had a social drug problem in the way of cannabis and amphetamines," he said.

"He had been a user of amphetamines since about the age of 19."

Downing, who pleaded guilty to possessing wildlife and ammunition, was fined $1500.

"You can't just have pet snakes, it's not only dangerous but it's most likely cruel too," magistrate Michelle Hodgson told him.

But Ms Hodgson said she had no choice but to adjourn the cases of Kors and Hoogstra.

"It just isn't ready to proceed at the moment, it just isn't clear," she said.

Hoogstra and Kors are due back in court on August 16.

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