Rainbow Serpent contractor busted with abundance of drugs on way to festival

A substantial amount of cash and drugs, including 260 grams of cocaine, has allegedly been found stashed in a vehicle of two men travelling to Lexton’s Rainbow Serpent Festival.

Police arrested Pedro Gomide and Martin Mahoney at Warrenheip’s Shell service station on Wednesday about 1.50pm after allegedly finding the drugs, cash, electronic scales and zip lock bags in the Toyota Hilux ute.

Police allegedly seized 260 grams of cocaine – 86 times the trafficable quantity valued about $85,000 – 84 grams of cannabis, 15 grams of MDMA, 25 grams of amphetamine and amphetamine paste, one litre of GHB and four grams of hashish.

Cash totaling $12,453 in Australian currency and $6200 in American currency was allegedly seized from the ute.

Senior Constable Jaclyn Clark, of the Ballarat Divisional Response Unit, said Mahoney told police he was contracted to work at next week’s festival and his business, Psyclone Tents, was supplying equipment.

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She told the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday the drugs and cash were located in various parts of the vehicle in bags, envelopes and zip lock bags.

Police allege Mahoney’s wallet contained a ‘tick list’ indicating names and money owed while Gomide was carrying a zip lock bag containing brown powder and $1369 cash.

Brazilian-born Gomide, 36, was refused bail on Thursday because he had not shown cause and was considered an unacceptable risk to the community. 

“Investigators further allege if granted bail the accused will continue to traffick drugs of a similar nature at this festival,” Senior Constable Clark said.

“This poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community, especially young and vulnerable patrons and those persons who attend the Rainbow Serpent and like festivals.”

Defence lawyer David Tamanika put to Senior Constable Clark his client had been co-operative with police while his co-accused had provided a no-comment interview.

He said Gomide was sitting in the passenger seat with a small amount of drugs on him but he told police he denied knowing about the other items in the vehicle.

Mr Tamanika asked Senior Constable Clark what evidence did police have to connect Gomide with Mahoney’s alleged drug trafficking, to which she said he was in the vehicle.

He said if Gomide, who is on an entertainment visa, was released on bail stringent bail conditions could be imposed.

Magistrate Ron Saines remanded Gomide, of Brunswick, in custody until March 8. Mahoney is due in court on Friday.

Gomide faces nine charges, including three counts of trafficking a drug of dependence and one count of dealing with property suspected to be the proceeds of crime.