DURING the two-and-a-half months that they monitored prolific heroin dealer Lee Michael Afflick's phones and tracked his movements, police captured literally hundreds of drug deals.
Afflick ran his drug supply operation more like a legitimate business, beginning each day at 7.30am and shutting up shop at 9pm or 10pm.
He operated out of his unit at Merewether and his partner's home at Kotara and each day would be contacted by a range of customers, who would place orders for quantities between 0.1 grams and 1 gram of heroin.
Afflick met his customers at shopping centres, service stations, banks, behind high schools, bus stops, parks and ovals and cab ranks to complete the deals.
But he was not keen to meet at train stations, police who monitored his movements found.
Once charged with more than 400 counts of drug supply, Afflick's charges were ultimately rolled up into a single count of supplying 203 grams of heroin between February 25 and his arrest on May 13.
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According to an agreed statement of facts, Afflick was involved in hundreds of drug supply offences during this period and hundreds more suspicious drug-related conversations but due to the entrenched nature of his operation and the familiarity he had with his client base, police were unable to ascertain the exact amounts he was supplying.
Due to the regularity of their purchases, customers would simply request the "same as last time", "the usual", "catch up", "catch up for coffee", "H", "Q" or "ask for 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on", making it difficult for police to determine the total amount of heroin he was supplying.
Afflick, who pleaded guilty to the single count of supplying an indictable quantity of heroin, dealing with the proceeds of crime and a string of weapons offences, was this week jailed for a maximum of three-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period of two years. He will be eligible for parole in May, 2021.
Detectives say they established Strike Force Toocooya in January, 2019, to target the supply of heroin in Newcastle.
In February they began monitoring Afflick's phone and determined that his operation was being conducted out of his home at Merewether and his partner's place at Kotara. His partner would assist him by driving to meet customers, arranging some of the deals and by allowing Afflick to store heroin at her house, police said.
In April, police began monitoring a second mobile phone Afflick used exclusively to contact his Sydney-based up the line supplier.
Between February and May, Afflick supplied small quantities to an undercover police officer on four occasions. But it was through telephone intercepts and a raid at his house that police uncovered the bulk of the drug supply operation.
Afflick and his partner were stopped by police in Llewellyn Street, Merewether on May 13, and police found heroin and $1365 in cash on Afflick.
Police later raided both properties and found 100 grams of heroin, a replica pistol, a taser, knuckle dusters, an extendable baton and knives.