A prestigious marketing graduate accused of exploiting multiple Airbnb apartments to trade large amounts of illegal drugs in a’sophisticated’ operation will be tried by a jury.
Tess Rowlatt, 32, reportedly conducted cocaine trades from 16 Airbnb flats in Melbourne, including the upscale Upper West Side CBD apartments and the View Hotel St Kilda.
She faces more than a decade in prison if she is found guilty of the most severe narcotics trafficking accusation against her.
In a slight victory, Crown prosecutors dropped more than 40 of the more than 100 accusations on Monday.
Rowlatt, who appeared in court via videolink from the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, pled not guilty to the remaining charges, laying the way for a jury trial in the County Court of Victoria.
Despite being incarcerated, Rowlatt appeared to be a glamorous marketing executive, dressed in white and wearing glasses.
Tess Rowlatt, 32, of Melbourne, has been accused with narcotics trafficking.
Rowlatt (pictured) is believed to have conducted multiple narcotics transactions across 16 Airbnb apartments between July and October of 2021.
Rowlatt is facing a multitude of allegations, including narcotics trafficking and gaining property by deceit.
She was accused with trafficking meth and 1,4-butenediol, also known as liquid fantasy, as well as engaging in multiple ounce-bag narcotics transactions at Airbnbs between July 23 and October 21 of last year.
The court heard that she would stay in the rented flats anywhere from a single night to many days.
Since January 2021, Rowlatt is also accused of distributing meth, GHB, and heroin.
Rowlett writes on her social media that she graduated from Monash University with a degree of business in marketing before assuming sales positions at several organizations.
Previously, Magistrate Jelena Popovic stated that the accused offense did not appear to have been committed to support a drug habit.
According to The Herald Sun, Ms Popovic stated, “The businesslike approach to the entire company is of grave concern… This was an unequivocal money-making enterprise the likes of which I have rarely seen.”
On October 21, drug squad investigators raided Rowlatt’s Upper West Side apartment after she reportedly arranged a drug transaction between her supply and buyer.
Major drug squad investigator senior constable Scott Davies testified in court that she checked the buyer’s possession of $15,000 before leaving and returning with drugs.
At a November hearing following her arrest, bail was denied on the grounds that there was evidence she would act to collect and pay suspected drug debts if released.
The police believe that Tess Rowlatt (left) ran a sophisticated narcotics distribution business.
In October 2021, Ms. Rowlatt was detained at an Upper West Side (shown) apartment in Melbourne’s central business district.
While she was eventually freed on bond to a rehabilitation facility, she was shortly returned to prison, where she remains.
Detective senior constable Davies further stated that the Airbnbs had been reserved with bogus IDs and essential worker permits, and that her digital devices contained proof of many narcotics transactions, including a $34,000 transaction.
He said that many payment apps were used as “tick books” to keep track of the scheme.
Police prosecutor Thomas Mills stated at the time that he was still calculating the amounts and the investigation was ongoing, but it appeared there were transactions over $203,000.
In a smack in the face to open justice, the magistrate refused Rowlatt access to the court documents describing the case against him.
In January, Rowlatt’s attorney stated that his client was grieving the loss of her boyfriend when some of the alleged crimes were committed.
Ms. Popovic said, “The trouble with that is that she is [supposedly] involved in high-level complex deceptions and trafficking… possibly the most sophisticated drug trafficking I’ve encountered.”
Next month, she will appear before the County Court of Victoria.
Tess Rowlatt remains in custody until her trial.
Tess Rowlatt has pleaded not guilty to dozens of narcotics trafficking-related offenses.