A North Wollongong restaurateur and the son of a bikie boss are among a group of five men charged over their alleged involvement in a large-scale cocaine supply ring.
Andrea Rubbo, the licencee of Lucia's By The Sea, and Tory Vartiainen, the son of Bandidos Australia president Tony Vartiainen, faced Wollongong Local Court from the police holding cells on Wednesday.
Rubbo will remain behind bars overnight after the prosecutor indicated police needed to provide further evidence about the Italian national's alleged involvement in the drug operation.
The 42-year-old was arrested by officers attached to the Raptor Squad at Market St, Wollongong on Tuesday afternoon.
Rubbo is yet to enter pleas to seven charges, including recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime, and three counts of supplying an indictable amount of a prohibited drug.
Police surveillance and telephone intercepts allegedly show Rubbo self-administering the drug inside the apartment of the operation's alleged mainplayer, Mustajab Hussain Turi, who was arrested last week. apartment. He has pleaded not guilty to seven charges.
The court heard Rubbo had allegedly supplied the drug at his Cliff Rd restaurant.
However defence lawyer Martin Zanolla disputed his client engaged in supply, saying he allegedly purchased the drug to fuel his own habit. Mr Zanolla said there was no evidence Rubbo had made any profits.
"My overall submission is that my client has a cocaine problem, that's evident," Mr Zanolla said.
Magistrate Claire Girotto agreed the evidence showed Rubbo bought a "substantial amount" of cocaine, but suggested he make a formal bail application on Thursday when police provide further evidence.
As Rubbo learnt he would be spending a second night behind bars, he held his head in his hands and said "oh my God".
Meanwhile 22-year-old carpenter Tory Vartiainen sought bail after he was arrested at a unit on Stewart St, Wollongong.
Sgt Pavlin opposed his release, arguing the case against Vartiainen was strong, with CCTV footage and transcripts of conversations revealing he actively supplied cocaine with co-accused Turi.
"There are Snapchat photos that correlate with the times and locations of supply," Sgt Pavlin said.
However high-profile defence lawyer Zali Burrows argued Vartiainen was used as a "protective mechanism" in the alleged operation due to his father being the president of an outlaw motorcycle club. Tony 'Big Tony' Vartiainen was supporting his son in court.
Ms Burrows said there was limited evidence showing her client's involvement, however Magistrate Claire Girotto disputed this.
"It does smell like there is a bit of involvement," the magistrate said. "This is not a weak prosecution case."
Magistrate Girotto opted to grant Vartiainen bail and ordered him to abide by a curfew, surrender his passport, not contact any co-accused, and provide a $30,000 surety.
Vartiainen's mother asked if her son's curfew could be relaxed two nights per week to allow him to keep playing Oztag, however the magistrate said the condition was necessary to mitigate any risks of re-offending.
Vartiainen is yet to enter pleas to participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity, knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and two counts of supplying an indictable quantity of cocaine.
Stevce Blazevski, 42, also faced court charged with supplying an indictable quantity of cocaine and participating in a criminal group, following his arrest at Cringila.
Defence lawyer Matthew Breeze argued there was no evidence showing Blazevski supplied the drug. He was bailed and ordered to report to police thrice weekly.
Blazevski's matter will return to court on June 14, while Vartiainen's will return on July 26.
Two other men arrested in relation to the alleged cocaine ring will appear in court on Thursday.
The five arrests came after last week's arrest of Turi, who is yet to enter pleas to 25 charges. The 21-year-old remains behind bars.
Raptor Squad South detectives established Strike Force Gindurra in February to investigate the supply of cocaine by alleged bikie gangs and organised crime networks across the Illawarra.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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