In a subscriber-only exclusive, the Leader can reveal a Tamworth man has pleaded guilty to supplying drugs.
A DRUG dealer will be sentenced later this month after admitting to supplying ecstasy in Tamworth.
Dylan Rutter fronted Tamworth District Court on Tuesday morning where he admitted to dealing MDMA in 2017.
"Dylan James John Rutter, you stand charged by that name that between November 2, 2017, and November 23, 2017, at Calala, you did supply a prohibited drug, namely 3-4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine," Judge Jeffery McLennan said.
Rutter stood in the dock as he was arraigned and replied: "Guilty".
It can now be revealed that Rutter's defence representative first announced the admission in early September, but Judge McLennan ordered the plea to remain secret until Tuesday's hearing.
The Leader was there when the guilty plea was foreshadowed ahead of his trial, which had been set down for this month, after he initially pleaded not guilty to the drug supply.
After the guilty plea on Tuesday, another charge against Rutter was formally withdrawn, but the court heard the case hadn't been finalised.
Judge McLennan was told the facts in the case would be disputed at a hearing, scheduled for this month.
"It seemed to be an argument about the relevance of some facts rather than a dispute on the facts, but I don't really mind which one it is," he said.
Rutter is the last of the dealers in the drug ring exposed by the Strike Force Kotzur investigation.
Co-accused Nicholas Hansen was placed on an intensive corrections order - or community-based jail term - while Matthew Hill was convicted and fined for drug supply.
The operation by Oxley detectives was set up to disrupt the supply of drugs such as cocaine and MDMA in Tamworth, before officers pounced on McDonald and later homed in on Hansen, Rutter and Hill.
Rutter was arrested in Tamworth in January 2018 and initially charged with the supply of 350 MDMA tablets that took place in November 2017 at Calala. He served three months behind bars before he was granted bail by a NSW Supreme Court judge in April that year.
He's been on bail since.
"Mr Rutter, your bail continues; we'll see you on the 16 October," Judge McLennan said on Tuesday.
Rutter wasn't in court last month when the plea was first detailed in court, but his solicitor said "it's a plea now".
"It's good news," barrister Ben Cochrane said last month.
At the time, Mr Cochrane said there was "a portion of the facts are agreed, but there is a dispute".
The court heard last month the dispute centred on "uncharged acts".
The exact details of the dispute in the case have not been detailed in court.