A man charged in relation to an alleged major Border drug supply ring has not yet formally entered a plea to the charges.
Thomas Alfred Purtell’s case will return to Albury Local Court on December 12 to allow time for charge certification.
The 46-year-old Purtell has not entered a guilty plea, even indicatively, and remains in custody, as do his four co-accused.
Purtell this week made a brief appearance before magistrate Rodney Brender via a video link to Junee jail.
Before his case was mentioned, Purtell repeatedly waived his arms about and pointed to his ears as he could not hear what was going on, unaware that his link had been muted while another unrelated case was finalised.
The heavily built, bearded Purtell wasn’t the only matter involving those arrested following police raids two months ago that yielded drugs worth at least $300,000.
Claudette Tannous, 24, also made a brief appearance, also via a video link to jail.
It is claimed by police that Tannous, the partner of the alleged ringleader, Mahmoud El-Zayat, who only recently made a failed bid to be released on bail, played a relatively minor role, though she was still refused bail during her first court appearance because of the seriousness of her charges.
The court was told her matters were still with the Director of Public Prosecutions, though the brief had been served. Her case was adjourned, for charge certification, to November 11.
Purtell’s matter was adjourned to December 12, again for charge certification.
The matters against El-Zayet, 45, Kylie Maree Pearce, 35, and Alfred Maxwell Clark, 49, were also mentioned in order to give the court an update of the progress of the briefs of evidence in readiness for committal.
El-Zayat allegedly had 13 grams of cocaine on him when he was arrested with Tannous, his partner, on Dean Street.
Tannous is also accused of receiving a financial reward of $51,600 and is charged with commercial drug supply of 421 grams of ice.
Clark faces the fewest charges with two counts of knowingly take part in ice supply and knowingly participating in a criminal group.
El Zayat’s argument for being granted bail centred on his treatment by other prisoners at Junee jail and the impact his incarceration had on his mental health.
The court was told during El Zayat’s bail application a week ago that he suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and a panic disorder and had been targeted by other prisoners.
He had also lived a life free of crime up until the death of his father two years ago.
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