27 June 2023

Men arrested in Batemans Bay after drug raids avoid prison time

| Albert McKnight
Start the conversation
children's toy Bluey

A package sent from Batemans Bay to a Queensland address allegedly contained cocaine hidden in a children’s toy, ”Bluey”. Photo: South Coast Police Facebook.

Two men arrested when police were investigating the supply of drugs in the Eurobodalla avoided being sent to jail when they were sentenced, although two others still remain before the courts.

NSW Police had established Strike Force Wirrinda in October 2021 to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs in the Batemans Bay region.

In August 2022, officers intercepted a package, sent from Batemans Bay to Queensland, which allegedly contained white powder, believed to be cocaine, hidden in a children’s toy, police said.

The toy was ”Bluey” from the hit children’s television show of the same name.

On 6 September, 2022, police stopped a vehicle on the Federal Highway at Wollogorang and allegedly seized more than 360 grams of MDMA that they claimed was bound for distribution on the South Coast.

Then on 28 September, police raided four homes in the Batemans Bay area, while ACT Policing and the Australian Federal Police raided locations in Braddon and Mitchell in the ACT.

Police allegedly found seven firearms, gel blasters, a replica handgun, ammunition, two poker machines, cannabis, about a kilo of tobacco, steroids and a crystalised substance believed to be MDMA, as well as $1600 in cash.

They also allegedly seized a hydraulic pill press, gunpowder and a prohibited laser pointer.

READ ALSO Bega Valley’s Janice Denny has jail time reduced on appeal over animal cruelty charges

Four men were arrested that month. Two of these were Tyler McKenna, an alleged bikie who was arrested in Braddon, and Taren Ronald Hayles.

These two will return to the Batemans Bay Local Court on 17 July to continue to face their charges.

The two others were Fraser John Unterweger, then aged 24, and Brendan Raymond Smith, then 45, who were arrested at different locations in Batemans Bay and granted bail.

Unterweger pleaded guilty to six charges that included taking part in the supply of a prohibited drug, supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, supplying a prohibited drug and possessing an unauthorised and prohibited firearm. Other charges were withdrawn.

He appeared in the Batemans Bay Local Court again on Monday (26 June), where he was convicted.

Magistrate Michael O’Brien sentenced him to 18 months’ jail, to be served via an intensive corrections order (ICO) that ends in December 2024. This is a community-based sentence.

The Batemans Bay man must also perform 84 hours of community service and not use drugs during the ICO.

READ ALSO Cowra woman convicted for her involvement in a police pursuit

The magistrate dismissed his charge of possessing an unauthorised and prohibited firearm.

Meanwhile, Smith pleaded guilty to his five charges last November.

Magistrate Doug Dick convicted him on charges that included possessing an unauthorised firearm, possessing ammunition without authorisation, possessing a prohibited weapon without a permit and possessing a gaming machine that was not approved.

The weapons and ammunition were forfeited and Smith was fined $5000.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.