Two men who allegedly drove around one of the main players in a meth and heroin syndicate or ferried drugs from locations have been granted bail following an extensive police investigation.
Clay Trevena, 40, Michael Brisbane, 53, faced Wollongong Local Court on Friday where they were release from custody.
Five people were arrested this week following an ongoing investigation by Strike Force Mote into an alleged large-scale drug syndicate operating between the Illawarra and Sydney.
Ten raids were carried out at homes in Berkeley, Coniston and Sydney this week where approximately 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, 340 grams of cocaine, heroin, two unauthorised prohibited pistols and approximately $100,000 in cash was seized.
The estimated potential street value of the drugs seized this week was $1 million.
Trevena was arrested at his home in Jutland Avenue, Coniston and was charged with seven offences including supplying a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs and tampering with evidence.
Brisbane was charged with two counts of taking part in the supply of a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, two counts of participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity, and dealing with property proceeds of crime.
Police allege husband and wife Feras Abdul-Hamid and Suzanna Ristevska were the "main players" in the million-dollar syndicate. They were arrested and remain in custody.
Police allege Trevena and Brisbane were involved in the movement of methamphetamine and heroin between Sydney and the Illawarra.
In court on Friday, Trevena's defence lawyer Matt Ward conceded the allegations against this client were "very serious" and his criminal record did not assist him, however it was one consistent with a drug user.
Mr Ward suggested the prosecution case against his client was weak because they would have to prove Trevena knew there was a large commercial quantity in the car he was driving and that he knowingly decided to drive, also that he knew where the quantity of drugs came from.
"Mr Trevena is the unwilling Uber driver," Mr Ward suggested.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Rachel Biffin conceded Treneva was "not a big player" in the syndicate but submitted he was involved and knew there was alleged drug supply.
Police also allege Risteveska orchestrated associates to enter the Albion Park police holding yard to find drugs she believed were still inside a seized ute in August.
Police allege Trevena was involved in the attempt to destroy nearly 500 grams of meth and 41 grams of heroin contained within the ute.
Mr Ward suggested the prosecution case for the tamper with evidence charge was not strong.
He said his client had been compliant while on police bail following his arrest for lesser drug charges related to the syndicate in July. Mr Ward said he also faced a lengthy delay while on remand and had strong community ties and was in a stable relationship.
Magistrate Claire Girotto agreed, based on the information in police documents, that Trevena might not have known about the drugs.
She granted him bail, noting Trevena was trying to stay clean from drugs, despite relapsing and police finding him allegedly flushing heroin down the toilet during his arrest.
Magistrate Girotto ordered Trevena to live at his home in Coniston, report to police daily, not leave the house unless in the company of his partner and continue drug treatment.
Meanwhile, Brisbane's defence lawyer Jordan Mechan said his client had made some admissions that he was ferrying around Feras Abdul-Hamid after he had offered to pay him with meth in exchange for driving.
Mr Mechan said Brisbane's involvement in the syndicate was "low range" and would have to prove he knowingly knew he was taking part in the commercial supply of drugs.
Mr Mechan said there would be delay in the case reaching a potential trial, and had only served 21 days in custody before, adding he also needed to seek treatment for recently diagnosed high blood pressure.
Mr Mechan also added Brisbane needed to care for his four children.
Sergeant Biffin suggested Brisbane "clearly knew what he was doing" and "was driving around ferrying drugs and people involved in the matter to and from Sydney".
Magistrate Girotto granted Brisbane bail to live at his Berkeley home, report to police daily, not contact the co-accused, accept treatment from the Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service and not take illicit drugs. His wife had to offer a $1000 surety and he is only allowed to leave home with her.
The cases were adjourned to October 13.
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