Raid sequel in court
FIVE men including a father and his two sons arrested in connection with $1 million worth of cannabis plants found at a Cudgera Creek property on Monday were refused bail in Lismore Local Court yesterday.
The father, William John Stock, 53, of Banora Point, his sons William Michael Stock, 28, of Burringbar, and Michael James Stock, 23, of Cudgera Creek, Wayne Lindsay Ruff, 38, of Tweed Heads South, and Raymond Desmond Mitchell, 55, of Cudgera Creek, were arrested during police raids carried out by Tweed Heads police and members of the Sydney Dog Unit.
The raids were carried out simultaneously on 10 properties in the Tweed Heads area uncovering a total of 500 cannabis plants with a street value of $2 million and hydroponic equipment valued at nearly $100,000 and are the culmination of investigations begun in November last year as part of Strike Force Waragal.
Two other men were also arrested during the raids and are expected to appear in Lismore Local Court this week.
William John Stock is charged with enhanced indoor cultivation of a prohibited plant for commercial purposes. Stock is alleged by police to be a leader in a sophisticated drug%cultivation and distribution operation Police allege Stock allowed his property to be used to grow cannabis in return for money.
While applying for bail the court heard Stock had a flight to the Philippines booked for Thursday so he could arrange his marriage to his Philipino fianc?.
Stock's plane ticket has been confiscated and his passport surrendered.
Magistrate Nick Reimer said there was a strong prosecution case including telephone intercepts. In refusing Stock bail, Mr Reimer said he could not be satisfied Stock would not be a flight risk.
Ruff is charged with two counts of enhanced indoor cultivation for commercial purposes and one charge of unauthorised possession of a prohibited weapon.
Ruff's defence solicitor Ralph James said Ruff owned a shop supplying hydroponic equipment and chemicals.
"Owning and running a hydroponics shop is not illegal," Mr James said.
"And there is nothing to suggest he is a flight risk."
Police allege Ruff delivered hydroponic growth chemicals to a drug-growing location and a receipt for the chemicals was found in his vehicle.
"If someone is going to supply materials to people undertaking illegal cultivation of cannabis and he was going to help them is it likely he would turn up with a cash receipt?" said Mr James.
"It would be done in a more concealed way."
Mr James said Ruff was not identified in police phone taps and had voluntarily attended Tweed Heads police station once he learned of the raids.
He said ammunition and a bullet proof vest found at Ruff's home at South Tweed Heads were used during his time as a security guard.
Mr Reimer said he believed Ruff's role in the conspiracy was more than a peripheral one and refused bail.
William Michael Stock, Michael Stock and Raymond Mitchell appeared together in court. They were expected to apply for bail next Tuesday, July 8.
William Michael Stock is charged with three counts of enhanced cultivation of a prohibited plant for commercial purposes, possessing prohibited plants, possession of an unregistered firearm and not keeping a firearm safely.
Michael Stock is charged with two counts of enhanced cultivation for commercial purposes and Mitchell is also charged with two counts of enhanced cultivation and possessing a prohibited drug.
All the men had their cases adjourned to Lismore Local Court on August 19 for mention.