An air conditioning apprentice once dubbed the suspected "kingpin" of a major drug syndicate has admitted supplying methamphetamine in Queanbeyan.
Batemans Bay man Benjamin Hedges was among 11 people arrested during a series of raids across the border city and Cooma last August.
The 32-year-old father initially faced 23 charges, ranging from drug supply to dealing with the proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group.
At his first court appearance, he was described as the likely leader of what Detective Superintendent Kevin McNeil had earlier told media was a major criminal network supplying "ice" and other drugs in areas including the NSW snowfields.
Magistrate Roger Clisdell said material before him on that occasion indicated police had intercepted some 12,000 phone calls and text messages involving Hedges during "a relatively short period".
"How he even had the time to eat and sleep, let alone carry out any work as an apprentice, is beyond me," Mr Clisdell said in late August 2020.
Nearly a year on, and with Hedges having subsequently been granted bail, the 32-year-old's case was mentioned again in Queanbeyan Local Court on Tuesday.
He did not appear and neither did his lawyer, who emailed the court to say Hedges was at an addiction rehabilitation facility in south-west Sydney.
Mr Clisdell said, however, that the lawyer's message contained written guilty pleas to three charges.
One of these was that Hedges supplied methamphetamine on an ongoing basis in Queanbeyan and Cooma during a month-long period across May and June last year.
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Another was of supplying 18.715g of the same drug in Cooma between April and June 2020.
The other related to the supply of 42.5g of what is commonly called "ice" in the Sydney suburb of Guildford in the middle of last year.
The supply of between 5g and 250g of methamphetamine in NSW carries a maximum jail sentence of 15 years.
A prosecutor withdrew the remaining charges levelled at Hedges, and Mr Clisdell committed the 32-year-old to the Queanbeyan District Court for sentence.
He said it seemed Hedges would remain in rehabilitation "for at least another month", so he listed the apprentice's first appearance in that court for November 1.
The case of another alleged member of the syndicate, Erin Sellick, was also mentioned briefly on Tuesday morning.
The woman, previously characterised as "a mid-level player", faces charges including supplying prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis.
Her lawyer indicated he was in negotiations with a prosecutor, who needed time to "run [an offer] through the powers that be".
Ms Sellick's case returns to court on September 7.
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