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Inside Tamworth’s ‘ice castle’: Police charge five alleged drug dealers

An ordinary-looking country home known as the ‘ice castle’ has been raided by police in an alleged drug syndicate bust that saw five accused dealers arrested.

Police including riot officers and the dog squad raided the South Tamworth unit and other homes in the area on Wednesday following a 10-month investigation.

The ‘ice castle’ was allegedly a distribution centre for drugs from Tamworth to the New South Wales Central Coast, and across the border into Melbourne.

Police say members of the alleged drug syndicate referred to the ordinary-looking home, which acted as their distribution base, as the ‘ice castle’.

A home known as the ‘ice castle’ has been raided by police in an alleged drug syndicate bust that saw five people arrested

Police including riot officers and the dog squad raided the South Tamworth unit and other homes in the area on Wednesday following a 10-month investigation

Police including riot officers and the dog squad raided the South Tamworth unit and other homes in the area on Wednesday following a 10-month investigation

The 'ice castle' was allegedly a distribution centre for drugs from Tamworth to the New South Wales Central Coast, and across the border into Melbourne

The ‘ice castle’ was allegedly a distribution centre for drugs from Tamworth to the New South Wales Central Coast, and across the border into Melbourne

During the searches, officers seized two replica firearms, ammunition, mobile phones, electronic equipment, jewellery, cash, drugs, and a NSW Police Force jacket.

A 49-year-old man who was arrested at the South Tamworth property will face 44 charges, including drugs and weapons offences.

The man and a 49-year-old woman allegedly helped supply more than 1.5kg of ice, and large quantities of heroin, fentanyl patches and cannabis leaf. 

Two men aged 28 and 44 and a woman aged 41 were also charged. 

All five have been refused bail and will appear in Tamworth Local Court on Thursday. 

TAMWORTH’S ICE EPIDEMIC:

Tamworth, in northeast New South Wales, is known for its country music festival and its Big Golden Guitar

The city has an estimated population of 62,000 people

Tamworth has struggled with an ‘ice epidemic’ for the past few years

The Ice Action Group was established earlier this year to tackle the problem 

Oxley Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi, said the arrests this week were a testament to the collaborative and dedicated investigative work by police.

‘It is of particular concern to us that an illicit business, known to those that visit as the ”ice castle”, has been operating in our community; but we take great satisfaction in dismantling such a destructive network. 

‘Prohibited drugs are incredibly dangerous – and ice is renowned for tearing communities apart – so we need to do everything we can to remove it and those supplying it from our local area.

‘Our officers work tirelessly to make Tamworth the safest place to live, and we will continue to seize prohibited drugs and illegal firearms targeting criminal activity at all levels.’  

A man and a 49-year-old woman allegedly helped supply more than 1.5kg of ice, and large quantities of heroin, fentanyl patches and cannabis leaf

A man and a 49-year-old woman allegedly helped supply more than 1.5kg of ice, and large quantities of heroin, fentanyl patches and cannabis leaf 

One man who was arrested during the raids appeared to be wearing pyjamas when police stormed the property

One man who was arrested during the raids appeared to be wearing pyjamas when police stormed the property

Five people were arrested after the raids and will face court on Thursday on a string of charges

Five people were arrested after the raids and will face court on Thursday on a string of charges

Oxley Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi, said the arrests are a testament to the collaborative and dedicated investigative work by police

Oxley Police District Commander, Acting Superintendent Kylie Endemi, said the arrests are a testament to the collaborative and dedicated investigative work by police

Riot officers stand outside one of the homes that were raided on Wednesday after a 10-month investigation

Riot officers stand outside one of the homes that were raided on Wednesday after a 10-month investigation

A dog handler enters one of the properties during the raids on Wednesday in Tamworth

A dog handler enters one of the properties during the raids on Wednesday in Tamworth

Tamworth has been battling an ‘ice epidemic’ for the past few years.

Magistrate Michael Holmes has previously spoken of the major problem the area has faced with drug use. 

‘I had a person recently before me, only 22 but she looked an old woman as a result of ice abuse,’ he told ABC.

‘You tell them that they look dreadful and they’ve got to change their life, because I also sit as a coroner and I see the end results. I tell them that quite plainly.’

The community has been rallying to tackle the problem and a group called the Ice Action group was established earlier this year to help.

A 49-year-old man who was arrested at the South Tamworth property will face 44 charges, including drugs and weapons offences

A 49-year-old man who was arrested at the South Tamworth property will face 44 charges, including drugs and weapons offences

During the searches, officers seized two replica firearms, ammunition and mobile phones

During the searches, officers seized two replica firearms, ammunition and mobile phones

Police also seized electronic equipment, jewellery, cash, drugs, and a NSW Police Force jacket

Police also seized electronic equipment, jewellery, cash, drugs, and a NSW Police Force jacket

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