A MAN who detectives say was a member of a major drug supply syndicate that used encrypted apps, "dead drop" drug transactions and attempted to flood the Hunter and Central Coast with methamphetamine during 2022 has pleaded guilty supplying ice at Belmont North.
Peter Charles Ninnes, as it is spelt in court documents, appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to supplying an indictable quantity of methamphetamine and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Those charges relate to 139.8 grams of ice that was left inside a McDonald's cup in Calverton Crescent, Belmont North on August 11 last year.
The drugs were collected by an undercover operative, who had been communicating with members of the syndicate on an encrypted app, and $32,000 was left in its place.
But Ninnes on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to a number of other charges, including another allegation of supplying drugs and dealing with the proceeds of crime that detectives say occurred on October 12 last year.
Ninnes, who caused confusion in court earlier this year over an issue with the spelling of his surname, remains on bail after prosecutors said they would not apply to have him detained.
He will next appear in court in February to get dates for trial and sentence.
Ninnes was one of five people arrested in October last year as part of Strike Force Great, formed by the State Crime Command's Drug and Firearms Squad and the NSW Crime Commission to investigate the supply of ice across the Hunter and Central Coast.
Detectives say Joshua Toole, the brother of former NSW deputy premier and police minister Paul Toole, was the head of a syndicate that included Paul Colvin, David Bui, Tahney Partland and Ninness and that used encrypted apps, "dead drop" drug transactions and attempted to supply large quantities of ice.
But, instead of mid-level drug dealers looking to feed the ravenous methamphetamine market, the syndicate were communicating with police and repeatedly supplied large quantities of ice to undercover operatives.
Three other members of the syndicate have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the operation.
Bui pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime in relation to the Wadalba pot plant "dead drop", while his partner, Partland, pleaded guilty to knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime in relation to the $124,000 in cash she collected from the pot plant.
Partland is expected to be sentenced in Newcastle District Court on Thursday.
The others will be sentenced next year.