Police have dismantled an alleged drug syndicate and charged five people following investigations into the supply of methylamphetamine (ice) and illegal firearms in the state’s New England region.
In August 2018, detectives from Oxley Police District established Strike Force Radius, with assistance from the Target Action Group and Crime Management Unit, to investigate the supply of illicit drugs and firearms in Tamworth.
Since the inception of Strike Force Radius, officers have seized more than 450g of ice, eight firearms – including pistols, shortened firearms and rifles – ammunition, and two electronic stun devices.
Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives, with assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad and Dog Unit, executed two search warrants at homes in Tamworth yesterday (Wednesday 29 May 2019).
A 28-year-old man was arrested at a home in North Tamworth just after 6.30am and taken to Tamworth Police Station. He was charged with supply prohibited drug indictable quantity, supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, participate in criminal group and two counts of possess prohibited drug.
Shortly after, investigators arrested a 49-year-old woman and 49-year-old man at a unit in South Tamworth.
The pair were taken to Tamworth Police Station, where the man was charged with 44 offences including supply prohibited drugs on ongoing basis, supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity, possess unauthorised firearm, possess unregistered firearm, supply unregistered firearm, deal with property proceeds of crime, and possess unauthorised pistol.
The woman was charged with seven offences including supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity, and participate in criminal group contribute criminal activity.
Police have been told the South Tamworth unit was referred to by members of the syndicate as the “ice castle” and will allege in court that it was a distribution centre for drugs across NSW – from Tamworth to the Central Coast – and across the border into Melbourne, Victoria.
Police will also allege the man and woman – both aged 49 – were involved in the supply of more than 1.5kg of ice, and large quantities of heroin, fentanyl patches and cannabis leaf.
During the searches, officers seized two replica firearms, ammunition, mobile phones, electronic equipment, jewellery, cash, prescription drugs, prohibited drugs, and a NSW Police Force jacket.
A 44-year-old man and 41-year-old woman were also arrested at separate homes in Tamworth.
The 44-year-old man was charged with 24 drug and firearm-related offences and the 41-year-old woman was charged with 20 drug and firearm-related offences.
All five were refused bail and will appear in Tamworth Local Court today (Thursday 30 May 2019).
Oxley Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi, said the arrests are a testament to the collaborative and dedicated investigative work by police.
“Strike Force Radius detectives have been investigating the activities of this syndicate for over 10 months, and these results can be directly attributed to their hard work,” A/Supt Endemi said.
“Prohibited drugs are incredibly dangerous – and ice is renowned for tearing communities apart – so we need to do everything we can to remove it and those supplying it from our local area.
“It is of particular concern to us that an illicit business, known to those that visit as the ‘ice castle’, has been operating in our community; but we take great satisfaction in dismantling such a destructive network.
“These arrests also serve as a timely reminder that just one firearm in the wrong hands could be fatal and police will continue to target anyone who illegally possesses and supplies guns in the Oxley Police District.
“Our officers work tirelessly to make Tamworth the safest place to live, and we will continue to seize prohibited drugs and illegal firearms targeting criminal activity at all levels,” A/Supt Endemi said.
Investigations under Strike Force Radius are continuing.
Anyone with information about the supply and distribution of prohibited drugs or illegal firearms is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.