25 October 2022

Pair arrested in Batemans Bay after alleged drug raids have cases heard in court

| Albert McKnight
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Suspected drug package

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

Two men arrested in Batemans Bay after a strike force had been investigating the supply of cocaine and MDMA in the area have had their cases appear in court for the first time.

Fraser John Unterweger and Brendan Raymond Smith were arrested after police raids on 28 September, 2022, along with two other men, 26-year-old Tyler McKenna and 23-year-old Taren Ronald Hayles.

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

In August, 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.

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On 6 September, police stopped a vehicle on the Federal Highway at Wollogorang and allegedly seized more than 360 grams of MDMA that they claim 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.

Mr McKenna and Mr Hayles have already appeared in court over their charges. The former had his bail refused, while the latter was granted bail, and both will return to court in November.

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Mr Unterweger, 24, and Mr Smith, 45, were arrested at different locations in north Batemans Bay and were granted conditional bail to appear before Batemans Bay Local Court on Monday (24 October).

The younger man’s charges include supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis and participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity, while the older man’s charges include possessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm and possessing a gaming machine that is not approved.

Magistrate Doug Dick continued their bail and adjourned Mr Unterweger’s matter to 7 November and Mr Smith’s to 14 November.

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