The mysterious world of the dark web has been thrown open, in of all places Nowra Local Court, when three people pleaded guilty to their roles in a $17 million drug ring allegedly run from Callala.
Cody Ronald Ward, 26 of Callala Beach, was the alleged mastermind behind the syndicate which sold a variety of drugs through the dark web on the internet.
He enlisted the help of sisters Shanese Koullias, 24, of Callala Bay and Patricia Koullias, 22, of Quakers Hill who packaged and distributed the drugs.
All three have pleaded guilty to a string of charges in Nowra Local Court before Magistrate Gabriel Fleming.
Apart from often having an expensive car parked out the front, Ward's Callala Beach home overlooking Jervis Bay gave nothing away as to what was going on inside, with the relatively quiet seaside village rocked by the news of such an activity when the trio were arrested in February 2019.
Now, parts of the elaborate sting that brought down the alleged $17 million syndicate has been revealed.
Draft amended facts tendered to court allege how the dark web was used to distribute drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA and LSD Ward had imported.
Police claim Ward, the baby-faced IT wizard, operated under the name 'NSWGreat' on dark web marketplaces, such as 'Dream Market', conducted 10,500 successful transactions between December 2015 and January 2019.
Described by police as a "sophisticated online drug distribution network", transactions were paid for in many instances by cryptocurrency.
Ward enlisted Shanese Koullias to help package and distribute the drug parcels, paying her $100 an hour and $100 to drop off parcels.
She later bought her younger sister Patricia in on the business.
In 27 pages of facts, police outlined the detailed investigation into the syndicate which started in June 2018, where Ward used multiple names and South Coast post office boxes to collect imported drugs.
Police, in an extensive nine-month surveillance operation, which also included listening devices, captured Ward and the sisters dropping off packages of drugs after they had been repackaged, into postal boxes in Nowra and South Nowra.
Ward collected imported drugs mailed to post office boxes under a series of names, including William Taylor, Ryan Print, Jackson Abbey, Oliver White and George Smith in Ulladulla, Warilla, Albion Park Rail, Windang and Figtree.
In numerous cases he was captured on CCTV at the post offices.
Police said at one stage Ward imported 1651.9 grams of MDMA, 1916.3 grams of amphetamines, 4.56 grams or 88,308 LSD tablets, 66.6 grams of cocaine and 17.6 grams of oxycodone tablets.
It's claimed Shanese Koullias would store and package orders at a Callala Bay home and then deliver orders through the post.
In one recorded incident Ward was heard paying the older sister $6150.
Police from the Cyber Squad, in a covert operation, gained access to the dark web market place and set up a number of purchases from Ward under his code name NSWGreat.
Officers allegedly purchased a huge amount of drugs, including cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA and LSD. They also intercepted a number of other deliveries.
Ward was arrested at the Stockland Nowra shopping centre on February 13, 2019.
Search warrants executed by police at a number of Callala Bay and Callala Beach properties and a home in Quakers Hill in Sydney resulted in a large haul of drugs and cash.
At one address police allegedly seized 103,560 LSD tablets, 764.22 grams of amphetamines, 529.48 grams of MDMA, a further quantity if MDMA powder, 259.37 grams of diazepam, 323 oxycodone tablets, 1.38 grams of morphine, a quantity of cocaine, cannabis and other drugs.
Police also found $15,830, packaging used to send the drugs and also seized a Lexus RC350 coupe valued at $70,500.
At another Callala address police allegedly found 542 grams of cannabis leaf in 18 resealable bags, packaging and keys to Australia post boxes, while at another property $62,796 was recovered.
In Sydney police allegedly found 115 LSD tablets.
Prior to his arrest Ward had posted on social media photos of luxury cars including a Maserati and Mercedes as well as international trips.
In August 2018, Ward allegedly conducted an interview with journalist Jeremy Cass regarding illicit on-line drug sales in Australia.
"I'm confident in my ability to stay anonymous as NSWGreat," Ward boasted in the interview.
Ward pleaded guilty to three counts of importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and three counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.
A number of other drug related charges along with dealing with the proceeds of crime and knowingly directing a criminal group will also be taken into account during his sentencing.
Shanese Koullias pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug with a number of other charges also to be taken into account at her sentencing.
Patricia Koullias has pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity.
All three remain in custody, refused bail and will reappear in Nowra District Court on August 10.
Read more: Crime/Court
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