Managers from a Brunswick pub have appeared in Court over charges relating to “huge amounts” of drugs sold on the premises.
The sale of drugs was reportedly so prolific customers had to queue outside the hotel’s office to purchase their ice and cocaine.
Police were tipped off to the hotel’s activity last July, but took until November to hand the case over to a specialist drug unit. The drugs unit enthusiastically conducted more than a dozen raids, with an undercover operative forced to line up outside the office with other buyers.
A raid by police on 15 April turned up a very large quantity of drugs and cash, including high purity drugs and stock that had been heavily diluted with a cutting agent. They also found thousands of ecstasy tablets stamped with the “VW” logo.
Chris Lytras, whose partner owns the Railway Hotel, and Paul Polito were arrested and charged with offences relating to trafficking of ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine.
Upon facing Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, Magistrate Peter Reardon speculated on why police thought it necessary to conduct 13 buys before raiding the hotel. Between December 2015 and February this year, Operation Thunderstruck spent more than $67,000 buying drugs from the hotel.
Polito, who is accused of acting as ‘concierge’ to the sales, was released on $150,000 bail on condition of entering rehab for cocaine addiction. He will reappear in Court 14 July.
Lytras was not granted bail.
The Railway Hotel continues to trade with no apparent consequences at this stage.