THREE men have been charged with multiple offences as part of a fourmonth drug operation by Goulburn Police.
One of them, Joshua Gregory Buckley, 23 of Middle Arm Rd, sat crying in the dock of Goulburn Courthouse on Wednesday as he faced nine charges of supplying a prohibited drug.
Another, Michael Fredrick Dunn, 24, of Faithfull St, appeared on Thursday facing 20 drug supply charges and one of possess prohibited drug. Two of these were levelled last Thursday, on which he had already been granted bail.
A third man, Matthew Peter Hancock, 19, of Marulan, was arrested last Friday after police stopped his vehicle on Marys Mt Rd and allegedly found 25 pills.
Their arrests came as part of Operation Bluegill and follows search warrants executed on houses occupied by Buckley and Dunn.
Police started the operation last November on the back of information about drug supply in Goulburn and Marulan.
This specifically concerned the supply of ecstasy to younger adults on weekends, they said on Wednesday.
It has involved covert surveillance, interrogation of data bases and undercover police.
Police said the operation has produced “a very clear picture of a well organised and very localised supply, distribution and use of illegal drugs.”
They expect to arrest more people in coming weeks and lay about 71 drug charges, more than 60 of these for supply.
Buckley faced court on Wednesday afternoon dressed in an orange and blue shirt and blue jeans. He sat with his head bowed and crying while his family were at the back of the court.
He did not enter a plea.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Toole argued against bail given the “large number of offences, six of which were indictable. He expected the matter to go to District Court.
“The defendant has been interviewed…and to his credit he has admitted involvement in the matter,” Sgt Toole said.
“We say this was an ongoing part and parcel of his life for some time. On January 9 he was charged with possess prohibited drug which was part of this operation.
“…Clearly his life is in grave difficulty.”
Police allege Buckley and Dunn operated in unison, travelling to Dapto almost weekly to collect 100 pills from two men, paying $12 to $17 for each tablet. They were then brought back to Goulburn and sold for $25 each.
Sgt Toole revealed another search warrant on a Wollongong house on Tuesday had netted 2000 ecstasy pills and cash. Police allege this was the source of the tablets being sold in Goulburn. Two men were charged as a result and refused bail.
Solicitor Jessica Clarke requested bail for Buckley, saying the alleged supply was limited to two months.
Her client had lived in Goulburn all his life, resided with his parents and had attended Goulburn High School. Currently he was undertaking a course to become a tree trimmer.
If bail was granted he would abide by strict conditions including a curfew, reporting to police daily and no drug or alcohol use.
Ms Clarke said the defendant had minimal assets but his mother could post a $7000 surety and a boat valued at $16,000.
However Magistrate Mark Richardson said at least $25,000 cash and $25,000 in property would be needed, consistent with requirements for the co-accused, Dunn.
“He’s in serious trouble.
Let’s not beat around the bush,” Mr Richardson said.
“He’s looking at 10 years’ jail if convicted…The court would need that amount to absolutely make sure there’s no breach. It’s his family taking the risk, otherwise the money is gone.”
After conferring with the family, Ms Clarke withdrew her bail application. Mr Richardson said a future application could be brought before the court.
For now, Buckley will be held in custody until his next appearance on April 10.
Co-accused refused bail
Yesterday Dunn appeared in the dock wearing a black tshirt and track pants and with tattoos on his neck. His family was also in the court.
He had been held in custody since his arrest.
Sgt Toole said while Dunn could “hardly have retired” on the alleged proceeds of crime, he did make a commercial profit.
He claimed 610 ecstasy tablets had been sold for a profit of $10 each.
“This is a matter that by virtue of the number of matters involved I ask the court to consider refusal of bail,” Sgt Toole said.
“I also rely on the enterprise involved, that is, the number of transactions over those days.”
Solicitor Tim McGrath did not enter a plea on his client’s behalf but indicated the matters would “go a certain way.”
He asked for bail on condition of ‘house arrest’ under his parents’ supervision and no contact with third parties, including the three coaccused.
“He suffers depression and is on medication for anxiety and depression,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr McGrath said his client also has a strong drug problem but was willing to undergo rehabilitation.
Magistrate Mark Richardson said Dunn’s two previous drug charges, which were listed for mention on Wednesday, foreshadowed further charges.
“This does take the matter to a different place due to the volume of charges,” he said.
“The activity in which he has (allegedly) engaged is grander than the last occasion.”
Mr Richardson said Dunn was likely to plead guilty. He was relatively young with no antecedents of significance and whereas with the earlier two charges there was some chance of a non-custodial term, it was not a prospect now.
“There are risks associated with his liberty….” he said.
“Now unfortunately he’s in a situation where he has a much more dank future than he would a few days ago.”
Mr Richardson refused bail and adjourned the case to April 10.
Late Friday officers also arrested Marulan man, Matthew Peter Hancock after stopping his vehicle on Marys Mt Rd and allegedly finding 25 pills.
Police alleged Buckley had supplied these and Hancock was en-route to distribute the tablets to other people.
He was charged with possession of a prohibited drug and four counts of supplying a prohibited drug. Hancock was granted conditional bail on Wednesday with $15,000 surety.
The case was also adjourned to April 10.