It was February 2019 when Jason Amoroso found himself in front of Wollongong magistrate Michael Stoddart, begging for a second chance he didn't deserve.
Amoroso had been busted with drugs twice in the past year and had spent almost four months in custody before being released on bail.
He pleaded with Magistrate Stoddart not to send him back to jail, promising he was a changed man who had turned his life around and kicked his drug habit.
Magistrate Stoddart was dubious.
"I read your record and it says you're a liar, a thief and a drug dealer," he said at the time, noting Amoroso had a lengthy criminal record spanning almost two decades.
"I'd like to think here's a guy who's turned his life around...but I'm skeptical."
Still, Amoroso was spared further jail time and placed on an intensive corrections order.
But it appears Magistrate Stoddart's cynicism was well-placed.
Police will allege Amoroso returned to his old ways less than 12 months after his sentencing, culminating in his arrest inside the Wollongong Novotel on Thursday morning following an investigation by drug detectives lasting more than three months.
In documents tendered to Wollongong Local Court on Friday, police said they collected extensive evidence of Amoroso's involvement in the supply of methamphetamine and GBL, commonly known as liquid ecstasy, throughout the Illawarra between April and August.
A phone tap on his mobile allegedly intercepted hundreds of phone calls and text messages relating to the supply of drugs to eager customers, as well as discussions Amoroso had with multiple up-line dealers to ensure he had a regular supply in stock.
The court heard the street price of methamphetamine increased dramatically while police were watching Amoroso, which investigators attributed to restrictions in supply due to the COVD-19 pandemic.
They said as a result, several of Amoroso's customers switched from ice to GBL, which Amoroso allegedly purchased for $2 per millilitre and on-sold for $5 a millilitre.
Police will allege Amoroso was recorded selling almost a litre of GBL between April 23 and August 6, along with 41g of ice during the same time period.
The court heard Amoroso's close associate and alleged syndicate member, Kelly Dent, travelled to Sydney in mid-July to pick up 2lt of GBL from an up-line supplier.
However, police intercepted Dent on her return to Wollongong, stopping her vehicle on the Princes Highway at Maddens Plains and seizing seven bottles from the boot of the car, each of which contained a clear liquid.
Dent told police it was water in case her car overheated, but an intercepted phone call between her and Amoroso a short time later revealed Dent was already preparing herself for the worst.
"I'm going to jail Jas," she told him.
"They've just taken every water bottle from the boot. I said they're just water. They have to test it. Im going to jail, Im so screwed."
When Amoroso asked her how she could call him, she said "they've gone. They cant prove that thats G. They've taken all of it. The 2ltrs. Im going to jail."
Meanwhile, police will allege Amoroso moved between five premises while police were watching him, including temporarily living at three hotels. Every time he moved, Amoroso would tell his customers so they could visit him at the new address, police said.
During his arrest at the Wollongong Novotel on Thursday, police allegedly located small vials inside his hotel room containing GBL.
Amoroso was taken to Wollongong Police Station and charged with five drug-related offences. When interviewed, he allegedly confessed to police that his sobriety had been short-lived and he was back on the gear, confirming he was a regular user of GBL and meth and also supplied both drugs to close friends.
He denied selling the drugs for profit.
Amoroso sought bail in court on Friday but it was refused given the strength of the case against him.
The matter will return to court on September 30.