Callala man Cody Ward, accused of running a drug ring through dark web, faces extra charges

A Callala Beach man accused of operating a $17 million drug ring through the dark web has appeared before Nowra Local Court.

Cody Ward, 25, was charged at Goulburn Police Station on April 9 with four counts of import commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, and two counts of import marketable quantity of border-controlled drugs.

Man charged at Goulburn Police Station over dark web drug ring.

Man charged at Goulburn Police Station over dark web drug ring.

Ward was charged in Goulburn because he is currently a Goulburn jail inmate.

The matter was mentioned in Nowra Local Court on April 12 and adjourned until May 31.

In April 2018, detectives from the State Crime Command's Criminal Groups Squad established Strike Force Royden to investigate criminal networks involved in the supply of illicit drugs in NSW.

As part of their inquiries, detectives identified a technologically-sophisticated online drug distribution network operating from the South Coast and engaged investigators from South Coast Police District and the Cybercrime Squad.

Following extensive investigations, Strike Force Royden detectives arrested and charged Ward and two women, Shanese Koullias, aged 24 and her young sister Patricia, aged 20, on February 14, over the the large-scale drug supply across Australia using the dark web and postal services.

They remain before the courts.

Police allege Ward was operating as an online vendor on the Dark Web and supplying prohibited drugs, including cocaine, MDMA, LSD, cannabis, methylamphetamine (ice), amphetamine, and prescription medication.

Investigations under Strike Force Royden continue.

At the time of those arrests, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith told reporters in Sydney that the case was "probably the first and largest penetration of the dark web in Australia."

He said it had resulted in "taking out a syndicate who have dealt around $17 million of drugs across the nation."

During raids on five properties, officers recovered 2.5kg of white powder, 200g of MDMA, more than 100,000 LSD tabs and a significant quantity of Xanax.