Suspect freed for rehab

AN Albury man allegedly involved in a drug syndicate supplying “ice” in the region has been released from custody to attend residential drug rehabilitation in Sydney.

Matthew John Groves was arrested on October 14 last year after police started Operation Roder in March to target Malcolm John Collins and associates over an alleged large-scale drug operation.

It happened several days after the arrest of others including Collins and former Albury police officer Matthew Louis Marshall.

Groves, 33, of Atkins Street, is on 15 charges, including two counts of conspiring with Collins to supply drugs, participating in a group criminal activity, and drug supplying.

One of the charges relates to the ongoing supply of drugs on three or more occasions in a 30-day period.

Groves has previously appeared in Albury Local Court on October 15 and December 17 when no applications for bail were made.

But barrister Christine Mendes this week applied for bail on the basis that Groves had a position in the Odyssey House residential program in Sydney.

Magistrate Megan Greenwood was told bail was opposed for the protection of the community.

She was told there is a strong prosecution case with telephone intercepts and it was likely Groves would be sentenced to jail if convicted.

But Ms Mendes said that Groves had handed himself in to police, would stay out of Albury and remain in drug rehabilitation.

Ms Greenwood granted bail on a condition that Groves be transported straight to Odyssey House on his release.

There are two bail sureties of $50,000 and $10,000.

He has to report daily to police in Albury either by phone or fax.

Ms Greenwood imposed a condition preventing Groves from contacting or associating with co-accused or prosecution witnesses.

He cannot consume alcohol or illicit drugs and is banned from attending any licensed premises.

His charges have been adjourned for mention in court next month.

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