Men plead guilty to operating Armidale drug ring

TWO Armidale drug dealers who operated a methamphetamine ring that was busted in police raids have pleaded guilty.

The Leader was there as Keith Bernard Collins and Lance Gerald James Dixon were arrested and their homes raided in August last year after an extensive police investigation.

Yesterday, the pair pleaded guilty in Armidale Local Court to a string of offences stemming from the operation.

The drug ring unravelled when the duo was caught supplying drugs on a number of occasions under surveillance by officers from Strike Force Romley.

The taskforce was set up to hone in on the illegal supply of drugs and soon targeted the pair who were dealing methamphetamines.

As part of the evidence against Collins, police traced him to the Mid- North Coast where he was accused of buying drugs to bring back to supply in the Armidale area.

Police maintained both were part of the ring supplying ice but that Dixon was also involved in the supply of Oxycontin in the Armidale area. Dixon has been on bail since September last year while co-accused Collins has been behind bars since his arrest.

Yesterday, Collins pleaded guilty to six counts of supplying drugs and one charge of dealing on an ongoing basis, while Dixon admitted to six counts of supply and one charge of possessing prohibited drugs.

Crown prosecutor Peter Woods said conspiracy charges against the pair had been dropped.

“The director has directed no further proceedings,” he told the court.

The Crown has taken over the case against Collins who has been committed for sentence in the Armidale District Court and faces a maximum of 20 years in jail for some of the charges.

He remains bail refused until the sentencing hearing in May.

During the raids on a Newton St home and a Castledoyle Rd property on August 29, officers seized about 6.6g of methamphetamines, mobile phones and documents as well as a car they believed was used in the commission of the drug offences. 

Dixon remains on bail and will be sentenced in Armidale Local Court in June.

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