Retired Taree City Bulls captain-coach Dean Simpson to face serious drug supply charges

DEAN Simpson was the epitome of the country town success story.

Arriving to play for its footy team, the Taree City Bulls, the Manning Valley welcomed the former western Sydney high school student into its fold so quickly that he became the club’s captain-coach and represented them on the higher stages at Group 3 and North Coast level.

In retirement, Mr Simpson remained a respected and well-liked member of the broader community, continuing to build his haulage company while maintaining a reputation and stature within the Taree and Forster social scenes.

But the 41-year-old now stands accused of being one of the town’s drug dealers, after a significant police operation swooped on the former hooker on Tuesday following an investigation dating back to at least November.

Operation Carpet detectives will allege Mr Simpson supplied methamphetamine, more commonly known as speed, at least 70 times between November 23 and his arrest.

They will also allege that he ran the drug operation, using an employee at the haulage drug company to help with other customers, as well as a mate who lived at nearby Diamond Beach.

When they arrested him not far from his business, D & N Haulage, investigators allegedly seized seven grams of the white powder, or a quarter of an ounce in the old scale.

Search warrants were then done on his business, his Forster home and another residence at Diamond Beach.

They allegedly found another four ounces of white powder at Diamond Beach, and later charged a 46-year-old mate of Mr Simpson’s with supplying an indictable quantity of speed, possessing a traffickable quantity and receiving stolen goods.

An employee of Mr Simpson’s was also charged with one count of drug supply, detectives alleging that the 25-year-old assisted in getting rid of the drug when his boss was not available.

Mr Simpson was taken to Taree police station where he was charged with eight counts, including one charge that alleges he made the 70 deals since November, and four counts of supplying an indictable amount of speed.

He was refused bail to appear in Forster Local Court on Wednesday.

Mr Simpson moved to Taree in 2004 to play with the Bulls before becoming their captain-coach.

He represented Group 3 and North Coast and came second in the Group 3 player of the year awards in 2003.

Manning-Great Lakes crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said the arrest was a win for public tip-offs on drug activity.

“It's the culmination of a number of months of hard work,” he said.

EARLIER:

A FORMER prominent Taree footballer and well-known businessman was in police custody on Tuesday accused of running a significant drug dealing operation across the Manning.

Dean Simpson, who played representative rugby league while leading Taree City Bulls a decade ago, was dramatically arrested near his haulage business in town following a significant police investigation.

Manning-Great Lakes police will allege that Mr Simpson was dealing methamphetamine, commonly known as speed, between November and his arrest.

Police have allegedly seized a quantity of white powder during the arrest.

Search warrants were being conducted on his business, D & N Haulage, Mr Simpson’s home in Forster and another residence in Diamond Beach.

Mr Simpson was taken to Taree police station where he was expected to be charged with at least 70 counts, including supplying an indictable amount of speed.

The arrest and raids have been conducted as a part of Operation Carpet, an initiative by Manning-Great Lakes police which has targeted illegal drug supply in Taree, Wingham and Forster since November.

The 41-year-old former hooker moved to Taree in 2004 to play with the Bulls before becoming their captain-coach.

He represented Group 3 and North Coast and came second in the Group 3 player of the year awards in 2003.

Mr Simpson remained a prominent figure in the community after his football retirement, and is well-known in sporting, business and social circles.

Manning-Great Lakes crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna said the arrest was a sign that information from the public was being well-used in the fight against illicit drugs. -

"It's the culmination of a number of months of hard work," he said.

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