A BARRABA man faces life imprisonment if he's found guilty of supplying more than 800g of the drug ice across the Tamworth, Manilla and Barraba region.
Detectives swooped on Glenn Mervyn Hanrahan at a Fitzroy Street home in Barraba in the midst of Wednesday's heatwave and allegedly uncovered $77,500 cash in the house.
The Leader can exclusively reveal his identity - and that of the accused courier John Barry Carruthers - after they appeared in Tamworth Local Court on Thursday morning, faced with commercial drug supply charges.
It came after a strike force of police - code-named Kunderbung - moved, this time in Willow Tree, intercepting the man they claim to be the courier.
Carruthers allegedly had 112g of ice stashed in a box, hidden under his vehicle which was stopped about 7.30am en route to Barraba.
Solicitor Amanda Gaw lodged a release bid for Carruthers - who faces 20 years' imprisonment if found guilty of commercial drug supply.
The court heard 52-year-old Carruthers was on bail for other charges but had a limited criminal history.
Ms Gaw had to show cause why his detention was not justified, and conceded "it is a relatively strong prosecution case" but he had to care for a young family member.
"Conditions can be put in place to mitigate the bail concerns," she said.
Police prosecutor Sergeant John Brissett opposed bail, and said cause was not shown because it was a serious amount of drugs with "112g found in the car at arrest".
Magistrate Julie Soars agreed, and said he was "apprehended with a substantial quantity of methylamphetamine", "in a box secured underneath his vehicle".
She said it was a "reasonably strong case", with allegations he was "involved in the supply of 467g of methamphetamine".
"In those circumstances, I have to refuse Mr Carruthers bail, finding show cause is not met," she said.
Hanrahan appeared via video link from the police station cells.
"I do note that his daughter is present in court," Legal Aid solicitor Rae Parker told the court.
"She just wanted to see that dad was okay."
Hanrahan faces life behind bars if found guilty of large commercial ice supply; and also is charged with two other drug dealing offences; possessing drugs; and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
He made no bid for bail in court, but Ms Soars noted he was sporting a black eye.
"Does he need me to endorse his remand warrant? I can see he has an injury to his eye, does he need medical assistance?" Ms Soars asked.
"He says that's okay, I checked on that," Ms Parker replied.
The pair were refused bail and will reappear in February.
Oxley Inspector Michael Moy said it was the police case drugs were being moved from the Central Coast to Barraba.
Officers raided the Fitzroy Street home in Barraba, along with a Rowan Street house in Manilla, and a Maxwell Street home in Tamworth.
The drug ice, cannabis, drug paraphernalia, and close to $80,000 cash was seized.
Strike force to put dent in drug market
Strike Force Kundabung - an Oxley police-led operation - worked hand-in-hand with Strike Force Harle from Tuggerah Lakes.
"As a result of the investigations taking place, that since March [we allege] the 51-year-old man from the Central Coast has supplied 476g of methylamphetmaine and the 45-year-old man from Barraba has supplied 870g of methylamphetamine," Inspector Moy said.
"There will be more arrests associated with that strike force."
It's one of the largest drug operations the region has seen in recent years.
"It is quite significant, with the amount of money the gentleman at Barraba has - $77,500 - that equates to a lot of street deals and that's now been stopped, and that's the same with the man [we allege has been] couriering from the Central Coast," Inspector Moy said.
"And, it's going to have a significant impact both here and down on the Central Coast.
"That amount is being spread between all the towns in this area, that sort of an impact, there will be a significant shortage of drugs in the area which is what we want to stop."
Inspector Moy said not only will the strike force operations put a dent in the drug market, but it will also impact on other offending like property crime.
"That's where a lot of our property crime comes from, from people wanting to find money to purchase drugs, so this will also have a flow-on effect to that," he said.
Tuggerah Lakes police raided homes on Wednesday and Thursday. During the search warrants in Wyong, police said an unregistered pistol; more than $25,000 cash; and 20g of methylamphetamine was seized. A 46-year-old Watanobbi man remains in custody on Thursday night.