Raids prevent $500,000 worth of ice from hitting the streets

A SERIES of raids involving local police have allegedly uncovered a drug lab, chemicals and both cannabis and methylamphetamine.

Two men will reappear at court today over the alleged supply and manufacture of a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine in Northern NSW.

Strike Force Delisle was established in May 2020 by detectives from the Coffs/Clarence Police District's Firearm and Drug Unit to investigate the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs in the Coffs Coast and Hunter Valley regions.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives - assisted by Traffic and Highway Patrol - stopped a white Nissan utility on Waterfall Way at Ebor on Friday August 14.

Police spoke with two men - aged 45 and 47 - before conducting a search of the vehicle, where they allegedly located methylamphetamine, ammunition and chemicals used in the manufacture of prohibited drugs.

The men were arrested and taken to Armidale Police Station.

The 45-year-old Murrurundi man was charged with manufacture a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, while the 47-year-old Billys Creek man was charged with manufacture and supply a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.

Both men were refused bail and appeared before Tamworth Local Court on Monday, August 17 where they were formally refused bail.

Coffs/Clarence Police District Crime Manager, Detective Chief Inspector Guy Flaherty, said it would be alleged more than $100,000 worth of drugs had been seized and they had prevented an estimated $500,000 in ice from being manufactured. 

Insp. Flaherty said they the focus was on an alleged network of drug dealers who had been predominantly supplying drugs into the Coffs Harbour area. 

"We will be alleging this illegal activity not only affected the Coffs Coast area, their connections also stemmed into our Hunter Valley and New England regions," he said.

"They were using relatively simple plans ... but obviously they were establishing themselves in the distribution of ice and manufacture of ice in clandestine labs in premises on rural properties," he said of the allegations.

"Through fantastic collaborative work and information sharing with our neighbouring police districts, we have been able to interrupt a cross-region drug network of both manufacture and supply.

"Strike Force Delisle remains ongoing with further investigation and arrests expected."

At the same time, police executed a search warrant at a home at Murrurundi, where they located what they allege was an inactive clandestine lab. A crime scene was established and underwent a forensic examination.

 

Police allegedly uncovered a clandestine drug manufacturing lab in Murrurundi and chemicals at Billys Creek.
Police allegedly uncovered a clandestine drug manufacturing lab in Murrurundi and chemicals at Billys Creek.

 

Following further inquiries, on August 15, a 42-year-old Aberdeen man was arrested at Muswellbrook Police Station.

He was charged with manufacture a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs and refused bail to face Newcastle Local Court on Sunday August 16, 2020, where he was formally refused bail to next appear at Muswellbrook Local Court on Monday October 19, 2020.

Insp. Flaherty said while the operation had been ongoing for several months, it was only in the "last phase of the operation" the strike force detectives from Coffs Harbour were able to identify the location of the alleged clandestine lab.

Then last Thursday, strike force detectives - with assistance from the Coffs/Clarence Target Action Group, Northern and Western Region Operational Support Group officers and AFP officers - executed a search warrant at two properties at Billys Creek.

During the searches, police allegedly located and seized glassware used in the manufacture of prohibited drugs, a kilogram of dried cannabis and approximately 10 litres of chemicals believed to be either prohibited drugs or precursors used in their manufacture. The liquids have been sent for further forensic analysis.



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