THREE people yesterday put their hands up over a $2 million drug haul described as one of the biggest uncovered on the Border.
The decision by Ly Dang, Ho Ngoc and Cao Tuyen Le will avert a trial that was due to start in the County Court at Wangaratta this week.
Dang, Ho and Le now face a plea hearing in Melbourne later this month in preparation for their sentencing over the two kilograms of “ice” found in their hire car in Wodonga last April.
Dang, who previously admitted being the ringleader, faces a lengthy jail sentence after pleading guilty to trafficking a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.
Ho and Le — partners in life as well as crime — were encouraged to each plead guilty to the lesser charge of trafficking methamphetamine.
Dang, 41, wanted to have the Wodonga matters finalised before facing unrelated heroin trafficking charges in Melbourne later this month.
Case informant acting Sgt Ray Causer said yesterday’s guilty pleas represented a “very gratifying result”.
“It is a substantial seizure of an illicit drug that potentially could have been 2000 individual one-gram sales of methamphetamine,” Sgt Causer, of Wodonga police’s divisional tasking unit, said.
“The drug was of a high purety of about 90 per cent so removing that from the community is a very, very good win.”
Ho, 33, Dang and Le, 41, were arrested after a highway patrol car stopped to help as their hire car sat by the southbound lane of the Hume Freeway on April 27 last year, at 7.45pm.
The three were charged with one count each of trafficking a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine, possessing a drug of dependence and possessing the proceeds of trafficking a drug of dependence.
Sgt Causer told a previous bail hearing in the Wodonga Magistrate’s Court that the last charge related to $8000 in cash that was found on the three accused.
A 1.196-kilogram bag of the drug was in a footwell below Ho as she sat in the back seat, and a 1.018-kilogram bag was found in the boot.
Police said Dang admitted he was taking the drugs to Melbourne from Sydney.
Judge Julian Leckie yesterday arraigned the trio on the modified charges after lengthy discussions over the case that began several weeks ago.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions approved the new charges after talks with prosecutor Andy Moore.
The case will be finalised in Melbourne, with the plea hearing to go before Judge Irene Lawson on March 25.
Sentencing will take place in Melbourne.
Dang, of Noble Park, has been in custody since his arrest and was further remanded.
Ho, of Ardeer, and Le, of Smithfield, had their bail continued.