SALE man and KFC franchisee Matthew Jones, allegedly dealing cocaine as ‘Chicken Man’, faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and Thursday after being charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, trafficking cocaine, possessing MDMA, possessing methylamphetamine and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail.

The 39-year-old was arrested in Strathmore in Melbourne’s north-west on Wednesday by the VIPER Taskforce. His charges follow the execution of four warrants at properties in Sale, Silverleaves, Strathmore and Patterson Lakes.

It is alleged detectives subsequently seized a range of drugs from the properties including cocaine, methylamphetamine and MDMA.

Jones did not apply for bail following his court appearances and has been remanded in custody. His next court appearance will be March 28.

Sale man Matthew Jones was arrested in Melbourne and is a KFC franchisee. Photo: Facebook.

A KFC spokesperson confirmed to the Gippsland Times that Jones was a franchisee shareholder.

“KFC Australia’s number one priority is the wellbeing and safety of our team members, and we were extremely concerned to hear of this incident involving a franchisee shareholder,” the KFC spokesperson said.

“The principal owner and operator of these restaurants has taken immediate steps to ensure all team members are supported during this time and has commenced an internal investigation using a third party.

“We understand that team members are being well cared for at this time.”

It’s understood that Jones has multiple KFC franchises across Gippsland, including in Sale, Bairnsdale and Traralgon.

The investigation by VIPER commenced in April following a coronial enquiry into a drug overdose. (The Gippsland Times does not imply or suggest that Jones’ charges are directly related to this overdose).

Investigators subsequently identified an entity nicknamed ‘Chicken Man’, who was allegedly importing and trafficking cocaine via encrypted messaging platforms online.

Matthew Jones arrested by Victoria Police’s VIPER Taskforce last Wednesday in Strathmore. Vision provided by Victoria Police.

Detective Inspector Craig Darlow of the VIPER Taskforce said they will follow up every possible avenue of enquiry to detect those allegedly involved in drug related harm.

“The community can rest assured that we have teams of dedicated detectives working around the clock who are intent on targeting the drug dealers, traffickers, and manufacturers causing the most harm in our community,” he said.

“The repercussions of becoming involved in trafficking illicit drugs are life altering, with the maximum punishment life imprisonment.”

Kentucky Fried Chicken store in Sale.