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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Gang accused of supplying 27,000 ecstasy pills to Newcastle's party scene

    EIGHT young men remained behind bars last night, accused of being involved in a major drug distribution ring that had supplied more than 27,000 ecstasy pills to Newcastle's party scene in just three months.

    Specialist police raided six properties in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Sydney following an intense investigation, which will allege the supply of drugs with a potential street value of more than $750,000.

    Six of the eight men face at least one count of supplying a large commercial quantity of ecstasy, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years.

    Police also seized two cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, televisions, stereos and hundreds of ecstasy tablets, cocaine and steroids.

    The National Parks and Wildlife Service was called in to seize a snake from a New Lambton address while a search warrant on a Kemps Creek house was suspended while specialist police from the force's chemical operations unit were called in after glassware and other items were discovered.

    Newcastle City local area commander Superintendent Max Mitchell said Strike Force Sloman had put a major dint in the supply of the so-called party drug in Newcastle.

    "The bottom line is that it is an unfortunate state of play that we have young men ranging in age from 19 to 26 who have been involved in this type of crime and supplying, in general, these drugs to young members of our community," Superintendent Mitchell said.

    ". . .what it shows the general community is that we do have a problem with the supply of ecstasy within our community and that is very unfortunate."

    Police allege that at least one of the men had supplied cocaine and LSD.

    Officers raided two units in Newcastle and residences in Warners Bay, Cooks Hill, New Lambton and Kemps Creek in Sydney.

    The 26-year-old arrested at Kemps Creek is a member of the Hells Angels bikie gang and a Newcastle man, 20, has links with the Gladiators.

    A Cooks Hill man, 19, was charged with one count of using a phone service to procure a person under 16 years for a sexual act.

    Two men were arrested in a gym car park in Warners Bay, another was arrested at Honeysuckle and a fourth was taken into custody at Kooragang Island.

    Superintendent Mitchell said using drugs had become a widespread problem within the Newcastle party precinct and he would be seeking meetings with publicans and stakeholders in a bid to find solutions.

    "I think the majority of ecstasy is supplied for the purpose of individuals who can go out to our entertainment areas, dance parties, etcetera," he said.

    "That is the purpose of the drug, it gives the individual the high they are looking for.

    "We know that it is a cheap form where they buy a tablet for a night out for $25 on average. Of course, $25 is a lot cheaper than going into some of our licensed premises and spending in the vicinity of $100 or more on the purchase of alcohol.

    "That is the simple and sad fact of what we are putting up with today."

    Only one of the eight men faced court yesterday with the others due to appear in Newcastle Local Court today.

    Michael Hawcroft, 23, of Charles Street, Warners Bay, did not enter pleas and did not apply for bail in Newcastle Local Court.

    He was charged with four counts of supplying commercial quantities of ecstasy and one count of supplying cocaine.

    His case was adjourned to May.

    Police intercepted 60,000 thousand telephone calls and text messages, the court heard.

    A woman, 20, believed to be one of the charged men's partner, was arrested when she attended Newcastle police station and was expected to be charged last night.

    26 Jan, 2010 04:00 AM



  1. Terrapinzflyer
    More on Newcastle ecstasy charges

    FOUR more alleged players in the huge Newcastle ecstasy supply ring faced court yesterday as it emerged more than a dozen more could come before court.
    Strike Force Sluman detectives have now arrested 14 people allegedly involved in the supply ring which is accused of pouring more than 27,000 pills into the Newcastle party scene in three months.

    Gateshead teenager Steven Shane Cause was named in court yesterday as the bodyguard for alleged middle-level supplier Zachary Aaron Carmichael.

    Cause, 19, of Alder Crescent, will formally apply for bail on Monday after Newcastle Local Court magistrate Helen Skinner told him bail laws made it difficult for people charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of drugs to be granted their liberty.

    Ms Skinner adjourned the matter so admissions which Cause allegedly made to police in an interview could be disclosed as well as what alleged role Cause may have played in the drug ring.

    Cause is also charged with two counts of supplying a commercial quantity of ecstasy and one count of supplying an indictable amount.

    The court heard that he had acted as the "muscle" or bodyguard for Carmichael, who it is alleged bought thousands of tablets at a time before distributing them to smaller players.

    Joel Ayton, 20, of Heritage Avenue, Medowie, also faced court on four counts of supplying a commercial quantity of ecstasy and one count of supplying a large commercial quantity.

    The large commercial quantity allegedly involves supplying 2700 pills on October 30.

    Benjamin James Pepper, 20, of Prospero Street, Maryland, was charged with two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and eight counts of supplying an indictable quantity.

    Grant James Barnier, 20, of Park Street, Cardiff, is charged with one count of supplying a large commercial quantity, three counts of supplying a commercial quantity and six counts of supplying an indictable quantity.

    Ayton, Pepper and Barnier did not apply for bail and will reappear on May 5.

    A 27-year-old man from The Hill was arrested yesterday afternoon and will face court today on four charges.

    29 Jan, 2010 04:00 AM

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