ONE of the main targets in the Tamworth 'ice castle' drug ring who was on the run for several months has finally admitted to the allegation against him.
The Leader can reveal Ashley John Hoye faces several years behind bars after pleading guilty to supplying ice.
Hoye was on the run from Oxley police for six months before he was captured in a police operation in Sydney in late-January.
He's been behind bars since and is being held in custody in Junee Correctional Centre.
Hoye appeared via video link in Tamworth Local Court where he admitted to supplying more than an indictable quantity of methylamphetamine.
Geoff Archer - who was representing Hoye on a Legal Aid basis - said it was a "bit up and down with this matter" before he withdrew from the case in court.
Solicitor Alex Miller from Sydney appeared via video link in court and said he was now instructed in the case and his client was pleading guilty to supplying drugs.
"He's given me instructions to enter pleas," he said.
"It's a committal for sentence."
A charge of contributing to a criminal group was withdrawn after the guilty plea, and it was subsequently dismissed by magistrate Julie Soars who committed Hoye to the district court for sentencing.
"I'll mark you as bail not applied for, refused today," she said, ordering Hoye remain in custody until sentencing in mid-August.
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It's been the police case that Hoye was involved in the supply chain of prohibited drugs that was being run out of a headquarters in a housing commission unit, referred to as the "ice castle" in Petra Avenue, Tamworth.
Strike Force Radius was set up to bring down the alleged ice and gun supply ring in Tamworth.
After exhausting all options to find him, they applied for a warrant for his arrest and went public with his photo before he was eventually captured in Sydney earlier this year.
Close to 30 men and women have been charged as part of the operation - which is one of the biggest ever conducted by Oxley police - with arrests in Sydney, Central Coast, Dubbo, the Hunter, Uralla and Tamworth.
Melanie Caldwell, Shaun Winsor and Matthew Lee have already been jailed for their roles in the ice and gun supply ring.
Stephen Ross Hanshaw is alleged to be one of the main culprits; police claim he was operating the "ice castle business" out of his Petra Avenue housing commission unit.
He's behind bars on more than 40 drug supply and gun charges, including supply of a large commercial quantity of drugs. He's yet to enter pleas but could face life imprisonment if found guilty.