Strike Force Delaney: 32-year-old Ben Woodard facing drug supply charges after Oxley police raid Nundle Road, Woolomin, house and Upper Street, Tamworth unit | Update

Simultaneous raids: Police search the Nundle Rd, Woolomin, property on Sunday afternoon, and inset, a motorbike, drugs and cash were seized in the secret police sting.
Simultaneous raids: Police search the Nundle Rd, Woolomin, property on Sunday afternoon, and inset, a motorbike, drugs and cash were seized in the secret police sting.

A MAN is facing life behind bars for allegedly dealing more than one kilogram of the drug ice in and around Tamworth.

Police allege Ben Woodard had more than $30,000 in cash as well as a quantity of ice when he was intercepted near Newcastle on Sunday afternoon in a secret sting by Oxley police, code-named Strike Force Delaney.

For the past eight months, local police have been tracking Woodard, who lives in Woolomin, and will allege he has been involved in the supply of more than one kilogram of the drug ice – a charge that carries a maximum of life imprisonment.

The 32-year-old was being followed by local police when they intercepted him at 3pm on Sunday at Caves Beach – the culmination of an undercover operation that was set-up in January in Tamworth.

At the same time, The Leader was there as police raided a house on Nundle Rd, Woolomin, as well as a unit in Upper St in East Tamworth.

Police have been investigating what we allege is a major drug distribution network supplying drugs into rural communities like Tamworth and out as far west as Coonamble.

Oxley Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy

“Police have been investigating what we allege is a major drug distribution network supplying drugs into rural communities like Tamworth and out as far west as Coonamble,” Oxley Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy told The Leader.

“It’s been a very extensive investigation for a protracted period and has paid dividends in what police have seized on Sunday.”

During raids on Sunday, police discovered cash, drugs, phones, sim cards, a motorbike as well as financial records.

Woodward is facing 15 charges in total including supplying a large commercial quantity of drugs and 11 other drug supply charges.

Investigators allege he was in possession of a revolver in the Tamworth area earlier this year and supplied it to a person without a licence.

Woodard is also accused of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime, namely more than $100,000 in cash.

He spent the night in custody at Belmont Police Station on Sunday night before he appeared in Toronto Local Court on Monday.

Woodard failed in his bid for bail with Magistrate Alan Railton ordering him to remain in custody, and adjourned the case. He was not required to enter pleas to the charges.

Police will allege he was one of the upper-level suppliers in the drug ring, operating in the Tamworth area.

“We have made significant inroads into the illicit drug trade and this will have a significant impact on the supply of ice,” Detective Acting Inspector Darcy said.

“And I want to commend our investigators who have worked for a long time to bring this operation to a head.

Strike Force Delaney was initiated in January by the Oxley Rural Crime Unit, the Oxley Target Action Group, Penrith Region Enforcement Squad and Castlereagh rural crime investigators.

Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy

“Strike Force Delaney was initiated in January by the Oxley Rural Crime Unit, the Oxley Target Action Group, Penrith Region Enforcement Squad and Castlereagh rural crime investigators.

“It was launched to investigate the supply of ice through Tamworth and the far west of NSW.”

Detective Acting Inspector Darcy said there was more arrests to come.

“This has been an ongoing and extensive investigation into a major drug distribution network in the far west and Oxley areas which culminated in the search warrants,” he said.

“This has made a significant dent in the local drug trade and follows on from other significant drug-related investigations including Strike Force Burrill and Strike Force Mewburn.

“Our police will use all resources to target and disrupt dealers who supply drugs into our community and to the kids of Tamworth.”

Police confirmed officers also raided other properties including in Coonamble as part of the operation, which continues.

“Oxley police are committed to stopping the flow of this insidious drug ice that is harming the community,” Detective Acting Inspector Darcy said.

“And we would again urge community members to help us stop this plague that is the drug ice  and report suspicious activity or anyone involved in the supply of illegal drugs.”

Police raid: Oxley detectives and officers from the Oxley Target Action Group executed search warrants in Woolomin and East Tamworth. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth

Police raid: Oxley detectives and officers from the Oxley Target Action Group executed search warrants in Woolomin and East Tamworth. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth

UPDATE

Police have charged a Woolomin man with supplying a commercial quantity of drugs.

The 32-year-old was arrested by Oxley detectives and TAG police in Caves Beach, near Newcastle, about 3pm on Sunday.

Police searched the car and will allege they found more than $30,000 cash and a crystal substance which they allege is methamphetamine, or ice.

He is facing 15 charges including supplying a commercial quantity of the drug ice; 11 other drug supply offences, knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime, acquire firearm without a licence and supply a firearm to a person not authorised to possess it.

The man was refused bail by police to front court on Monday.

EARLIER

POLICE claim they have smashed a major drug ring supplying ice in Tamworth and Western NSW.

The Leader was there as Oxley detectives, the Target Action Group and uniformed officers raided a Nundle Rd house at Woolomin and an Upper St, East Tamworth, unit on Sunday afternoon.

During the coordinated operation, police, backed by officers from the Penrith Regional Enforcement Squad arrested a Woolomin man at Caves Beach near Newcastle on Sunday.

He remained in police custody being questioned by investigators at Belmont Police Station on Sunday night.

“Strike Force Delaney was initiated in January by the Oxley Rural Crime Unit, the Oxley Target Action Group, Penrith Region Enforcement Squad and Castlereagh rural crime investigators,” Oxley Detective Acting Inspector Jason Darcy told The Leader.

“It was launched to investigate the supply of ice through Tamworth and the Far West of NSW.

Seized: A motorbike is taken by police from the Woolomin house on Sunday. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth

Seized: A motorbike is taken by police from the Woolomin house on Sunday. Photo: Breanna Chillingworth

“It culminated in search warrants in Woolomin, Tamworth and Coonamble on Sunday afternoon and the arrest of a man in Caves Beach near Newcastle.”

Police will also allege the man arrested was in possession of a significant quantity of cash and ice when he was intercepted.

“This has been an ongoing and extensive investigation into a major drug distribution network in the Far West and Oxley areas which culminated in the search warrants,” Detective Acting Inspector Darcy said.

“Police have seized a large quantity of cash and a large quantity of what we will allege is ice during the raids.

“Officers have also seized a motorbike from the Woolomin premises which we allege is the proceeds of crime, and a large number of phones and sim cards and financial records.”

Detective Acting Inspector Darcy said the investigation would disrupt the supply of ice with more arrests to come.

“Police have been investigating what we allege is a major drug distribution network supplying drugs into rural communities like Tamworth and out as far west as Coonamble,” he said.

“It’s been a very extensive investigation for a protracted period and has paid dividends in what police have seized on Sunday.”