A Victorian car crash victim has been charged by police after officers allegedly found a snake, drugs and nearly A$200,000 in cash in the wreckage while trying to free him in the state's central west.
Officers were forced to catch the 1.4-metre python, which escaped from its box inside the Toyota Landcruiser in the crash and was slithering around inside the vehicle in Parkes on Tuesday.
Officers became suspicious when the injured man initially refused medical treatment following the crash on Peak Road about 8.30am.
Police said the Landcruiser, carrying two men, was towing a fishing boat and was involved in a crash with a ute, trapping the man inside the four-wheel-drive.
"While the rescue was under way, officers were forced to capture a 1.5 metre long bush python which was loose inside the Landcruiser," the police spokesman said.
"The reptile had been inside a box in the four-wheel-drive but the force of the impact knocked it free."
Police said they searched the boat and found evidence the seats had been tampered with and some of the polystyrene buoyancy had been removed.
"Police believe the boat had been used to store and smuggle illegal drugs," the spokesman said.
Officers also allegedly found nearly A$195,000 in a freezer bag and a small amount of methamphetamine, known as "ice".
The money has been seized as the possible proceeds of crime.
The injured man, who remains in hospital, has been charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime and buying and selling protected fauna.
He will be issued with a court attendance notice to appear at Parkes Local Court at a later date.
His companion has been charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime, and possessing/supplying a prohibited drug. He was refused bail and will appear at Parkes Local Court today.
Both men are from Shepparton in Victoria.
The driver of the ute was not injured.
- The Age