6 February 2024

Leeton man pleads guilty to drug charges

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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money seized by police

Methylamphetamine and $12,000 in cash were among the items police seized in 2023 as part of an operation named Strike Force Apperly. Search warrants resulted in drug charges against Robert Russell, Grant Hillman and Barry Isaacson. Photo: NSW Police.

A Leeton man has pleaded guilty to involvement in the distribution of prohibited drugs in the region.

Robert Russell fronted Griffith Local Court last week (1 February). He pleaded guilty in front of Magistrate Trevor Khan to two counts of supplying prohibited drugs, knowingly allowing the use of a drug on the premises, three counts of possessing a prohibited drug and having goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen.

Russell also had four counts of supplying prohibited drugs withdrawn.

The accused will remain in custody and is due to appear at Griffith District Court on 1 March.

In April 2023, police found and seized prohibited drugs and other items following an investigation into the alleged supply of prohibited drugs in Leeton.

The Murrumbidgee Police District’s Proactive Crime Team established the operation, Strike Force Apperly, in January 2023.

Following extensive inquiries, police executed three search warrants, at homes in Railway Avenue and Wallowa Street, Leeton, and Purdon Street, Whitton, from about 9 am on 18 April, 2023.

Police found and seized methylamphetamine, cannabis, MDMA, an electronic stun device, an extendable baton, fireworks, OMCG clothing, more than $12,000 in cash, and paraphernalia consistent with the alleged distribution of methylamphetamine.

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During the searches, Russell and two other men, Grant Hillman and Barry Isaacson, were arrested and taken to Leeton Police Station.

Hillman was granted conditional bail and is set to face Griffith Local Court on 20 March for sentencing.

Isaacson was convicted and is currently serving his 18-month community correction order. He was fined $750.

Investigations under Strike Force Apperly continue. Anyone who has information that may help police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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