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bikie boss 'used code' in phone intercepts
April 20, 2010 - 9:56AM
A man who police claim was the head of the fledgling Perth chapter of the Comancheros outlaw motorcycle club used code words as he conspired to supply almost eight kilograms in methylamphetamines, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.
State prosecutors said Steve Milenkovski had sent or received text messages and phone calls that showed he was involved in the drugs conspiracy offences.
The 32-year-old Tuart Hill man has been charged with two conspiracy offences.
One of the charges is related to 2.7kg of methylamphetamines that was located in the garage of a Stirling house in December last year, which serious and organised crime detectives said had a street value of about $2.6 million.
The other conspiracy count was laid after police in Adelaide removed more than five kilograms of the same drug from the spare tyre of a car that was travelling to WA from the east coast around mid-February.
Mr Milenkovski is now applying for bail, as the court was previously told that a trial was not likely for another 12 months. He has been in custody since February 25 and appeared via videolink from Hakea Prison for the hearing.
Yesterday, prosecutor Jeff Scholz said the charges carried a maximum 20 years' jail, and the offences were of an "extremely serious" nature.
In opposing Mr Milenkovski's bid for bail, Mr Scholz said the accused had conspired to possess five kilograms of high-grade methylamphetamine, which had a purity of 60 per cent.
He said Mr Milenkovski was not "deterred" when he saw his cousin by marriage, Paul Da San Martino, arrested and charged over the Stirling seizure in December.
"The (accused) was involved in the receipt of those drugs by Da San Martino," Mr Scholz told the court, adding Mr Milenkovski had arrived at the Stirling house and was found in possession of a firearm.
For the second conspiracy charge, Mr Scholz said Mr Milenkovski and his associates used code words in text messages and phone conversations that were intercepted as part of the serious and organised crime bust, known as Operation Baystone.
The allegations supporting this charge occurred between January 29 and February 25.
The court was told detectives had found two mobile phones in Mr Milenkovski's possession, which had been subscribed in another person's name.
"The (intercepts) do support a case against the accused man," the prosecutor said. "He was intimately and seriously involved involved to obtain what was found in the vehicle."
Text messages allegedly showed Mr Milenkovski "was able to move, sell or dispose of 3-4 kilograms (of drugs) in two days max".
Once the car was in WA, Mr Milenkovski was told to "get your girl" to help take delivery of it. Mr Scholz said "girl" was a code word for Mr Milenkovski's agent or operative, who was also charged at the same time as Mr Milenkovski.
While such intercepts were being read to the court, Mr Milenkovski appeared baffled by the interpretations and shook his head in disbelief.
According to the prosecutor, the accused said in one text: "This does not feel good", which showed he was "stressed" and "highly interested" in the delivery.
"In another (text), he tells the other person to check the surroundings ... he is obviously concerned about the possibility of police surveillance," Mr Scholz said.
A police operative had also noticed Mr Milenkovski driving around the Dog Swamp Shopping Centre car park, where the delivery was taking place.
In response to the phone and text message intercepts and what some of the code words in question meant, defence lawyer Linda Black argued they were simply "assertions" from the state and could be interpreted differently by other people.
And in their present form, they could not be admitted as evidence.
"This is not a Telstra or Optus document, (it appears) that the document was generated by the police itself," she said, referring to the documents' "Operation Baystone" heading.
"This generated document is based upon what they say is a summary of the messages they obtained.
"It's not evidence that goes beyond that.
"The state of the evidence at the moment is there is no surveillance evidence other than some assertions by one officer," she said.
Ms Black told Justice Peter Blaxell in her submissions that her client was well aware of the dangers if he breached his bail and said Mr Milenkovski's ties to WA were too strong for him to flee.
"He is a WA man, he's lived here all his life. He's built up a life here," she said.
"He has a significant amount of property which he will lose should he leave."
Justice Blaxell has reserved his decision on whether to grant Mr Milenkovski bail.