After an ongoing investigation a Central Coast drug laboratory has been brought down by police. It is alleged the laboratory has been manufacturing millions of dollars worth of crystal methylamphetamine (ice). The Organised Crime Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman said police were notified in June this year that syndicate members were involved in an illegal lab in Tuggerah area. For the last two weeks authorities had been running intensive surveillance on a suspicious premise in Tuggerah.

On Saturday around 6pm, two men aged 36 and 47 were arrested at the scene and charged with several serious drug charges including manufacturing prohibited drugs and supplying prohibited drugs (large commercial quantities). The men appeared at Newcastle Local Court on Sunday 12 July 2020 and were formally refused bail.

Following the arrest police executed a warrant to search the premise where they found an illegal laboratory, housing equipment and chemicals consistent with the manufacturing of crystal methylamphetamine (ice).


NSW drug laws carry heavy penalties for drug offences, especially for those involving manufacturing or supplying prohibited drugs. Penalties depend upon a number of factors, including the offence charged, the drug involved in the offence, and the quantity of the drug.

Both Federal Law and State Law legislate for drug offences. Federal offences tend to focus on the importation of prohibited drugs, as well as dealing in illegally imported drugs. Operation Veyda is an example Australian Federal Police (AFP) led investigation that began in 2016 with assistance from NSW Police. This investigation resulted in the dismantling of two interconnected organised crime syndicates operating across Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands.

Most drug related crimes in NSW are charged under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) (Act). The Act addresses crimes involving prohibited drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, etc.


The police powers to carry out undercover operations in NSW are contained in the Law Enforcement (Controlled Operations) Act 1997 (Act). The legislation allows specific NSW law enforcement authorities to execute controlled operations in situations where conventional measures are not effective.

Section 3 of the Act defines a controlled operation as an operation conducted for the purposes of obtaining evidence of criminal or corrupt activity, or arresting a person involved in such activity, or frustrating this type of activity, or facilitating the achievement of any of these purposes.

Controlled operations are executed by undercover authorities either police or officials from other law enforcement bodies acting under assumed identities.

During the course of controlled operations, undercover authorities may offer a degree of encouragement to people to commit an offence, or participate in criminal activity, or both. There is no substantive defence of entrapment in Australian law.

The fact that drugs are supplied to an undercover police officer who encourages the supplier to break the law is not a mitigating circumstance in sentencing. Under NSW and federal legislation, otherwise unlawful conduct by police is made legal, provided it is authorised as part of a controlled operation.


New South Wales Police Chief Mick Fuller has justified his new annual salary, setting a goal for his force of officers to ‘detect’ almost 300,000 crimes across the state this year. The targets, obtained under freedom of information laws, are set under 15 policing categories, and by suburb. The state-wide target for drug detection (supply) grew by 86 per cent to 6462 this year. Actual rates of drug supply detection have grown by 18 per cent over the same period, to 7338 offences in 2019.

Increased drug busts in NSW reflect the added attention the police are putting towards drug detection. Just last month Two Sydney men were sentenced to 13 years and 7 months, and 15 years and 2 months imprisonment following an Australian Federal Police investigation into a transnational crime syndicate that conspired to import more than 1.9 tonnes of prohibited drugs into Australia. The 39-year-old Arncliffe man and the 43-year-old Bankstown man pleaded guilty to attempting to import a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs.



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