TWO men were allegedly behind the large-scale manufacture of methylamphetamine when they were stopped in their tracks near Armidale by police who had been watching them for months.
Wade Stephen Caslick from Murrurundi and Noel Munro Worth from Billys Creek are accused of manufacturing a large of a commercial quantity and will face up to life imprisonment, if found guilty.
Worth and Caslick appeared in Armidale Local Court on Monday - 10 days after they were arrested in a car stop on the Waterfall Way near Ebor.
The men are two of three captured as part of Strike Force Delisle, a secret police sting initially launched by Coffs Harbour detectives before the operation expanded into the New England and down past Tamworth to Murrurundi.
Caslick was self-represented and was denied bail on Monday by magistrate Roger Prowse, along with Worth.
He ordered the pair to return to court in mid-October after the brief of evidence has been served on their defence.
They were not required to enter pleas to the allegations. Worth is also facing a charge of supplying more than a large commercial quantity of drugs.
SECRET POLICE STING REVEALED
The pair's identity can now be revealed after police released details on Monday of the secret police sting.
The operation has been ongoing since May, but police moved in on Caslick and Worth on the afternoon of August 14.
Police stopped the Nissan ute the men were in about 5pm on the Waterfall Way at Ebor before questioning and pair and searching the ute.
Inside, police claim they uncovered a quantity of methylamphetamine, ammunition and chemicals used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.
The pair were taken to Armidale police station and questioned by detectives and later charged. They've been behind bars since.
At the same time, more police from the strike force surrounded a Murrurundi home and raided the property.
There they allege they uncovered a clandestine lab, which was later dismantled after being combed by forensic police.
On August 15, a 42-year-old Aberdeen man was arrested at Muswellbrook police station and charged with manufacturing a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.
He was denied bail in court and will reappear in again in October.
STRIKE FORCE RAIDS MORE PROPERTIES
Last week, the strike force raided two more properties, this time at Billy Creek.
Detectives said they seized about 10 litres of chemicals which they claim is either prohibited drugs or precursors used in their manufacture. It's been sent for forensic testing.
Police said they also seized glassware used in the manufacture of prohibited drugs; and about 1kg of what they allege is dried cannabis in the warrants, which unfolded on August 20.
The raids involved police from the Coffs/Clarence Target Action Group; Northern and Western Region Operational Support Group officers; and AFP officers.
Senior police claim the arrests and raids have smashed the supply market of methylamphetamine across the New England and Hunter Valley areas.
"We will be alleging this illegal activity not only affected the Coffs Coast area, their connections also stemmed into our Hunter Valley and New England regions," Detective Chief Inspector Guy Flaherty said.
"Through fantastic collaborative work and information sharing with our neighbouring police districts, we have been able to interrupt a cross-region drug network of both manufacture and supply."
Police confirmed on Monday investigations are continuing and more arrests are expected.
Strike Force Delisle was launched in May this year by detectives from the Coffs/Clarence Police District's Firearm and Drug Unit to home in on those involved in the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs in the Coffs Coast and Hunter Valley regions, before the net widened into New England.