POLICE warned up to 20 people would be charged over a party drug supply ring in Tamworth, as the alleged ringleader was denied bail in court.
Tamworth man Corey Cutmore, 23, is charged with 14 offences including supplying a large commercial quantity of drugs. He's accused of directing the activities of the alleged drug ring, as well as recruiting a minor to supply drugs.
Police claim he was involved in the supply of more than 1kg of amphetamine, or ecstasy, allegedly uncovered during the six-month operation. Cutmore was denied bail in court on Friday.
He was one of five - including four Tamworth men - arrested during a co-ordinated operation in Muswellbrook and Tamworth on Thursday, as part of Strike Force Heyward.
Cutmore was arrested when Oxley Target Action Group police, backed by the Western Region Enforcement Squad, stopped the car he was in at Muswellbrook. Other occupants - a 19-year-old Westdale man and a 22-year-old Muswellbrook man - were also arrested.
Simultaneously, police raided a home on Mayne Drive at Westdale, an Armidale Road home and a third property in Muswellbrook.
During the raids, police claim they seized almost 500g of what they allege is cannabis; four capsules and two tablets of MDMA; as well as cash and a baton, which is an illegal weapon.
A 31-year-old man was arrested in the Armidale Road raid, along with a 24-year-old Tamworth man.
MORE ARRESTS TO COME
Oxley Detective acting Inspector Jason Darcy said police had "knocked out a crime syndicate that spreads across the New England" from Muswellbrook to Tamworth and the Armidale area.
"There will be more arrests; we believe up to 20 arrests in the coming weeks," he said.
"The charter of this operation was the party drug scene - the MDMA, the cocaine scene - and we were getting information throughout the year and that was the basis of creating Strike Force Heyward."
Detective Darcy said the drug supplies were in and around licensed premises in Tamworth, and pubs and clubs had been working in with police as part of the investigation.
Oxley acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi said the large scale of the operation and the arrests to come - on the back of the "ice castle" operation in which 30 people were charged - were a warning.
They're on notice. If they choose to supply drugs, if they choose to possess drugs in our community, we will find you and we will charge you.Oxley acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi
"This should be a clear message to everyone who chooses to participate in this type of activity we didn't stop, and we won't stop," she said.
"They're on notice. If they choose to supply drugs, if they choose to possess drugs in our community, we will find you and we will charge you."
THE MEN ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED
On Friday, police confirmed Cutmore is alleged to be the ringleader of the group.
He is charged with 14 offences including large commercial drug supply; recruiting a minor to supply a commercial quantity of drugs; ongoing drug supply; and knowingly direct the activities of a criminal group. If found guilty of the offences, he faces up to 20 years' imprisonment.
He was refused bail in Muswellbrook Local Court today and will stay in custody until February.
The 19-year-old Westdale man was charged with participating in a criminal group; and being an owner or occupier who knowingly allows premises to be used as drug premises.
The 31-year-old East Tamworth man is accused of supplying a prohibited drug; dealing with the property that is the suspected proceeds of crime; two counts of possessing drugs; and possessing a prohibited weapon.
The 24-year-old Tamworth man was charged with two counts of supplying a prohibited drug.
All three were granted conditional bail and are due to appear in Tamworth Local Court in early January.
The 22-year-old Muswellbrook man was charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime; possessing ammunition without holding a licence; and two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.
He was granted conditional bail and is due to appear before Muswellbrook Local Court later this month.