A MAN who allegedly headed a major drug supply ring has reluctantly been released on bail by a magistrate amid concerns about delays in his case.
Mahmoud El-Zayat is one of five people facing a total of 110 charges following raids in Albury and Wodonga on August 1.
It’s alleged the 55-year-old supplied large amounts of drugs to undercover police during an operation, and was allegedly caught discussing other deals on a wire tap.
Albury Local Court on Tuesday heard he was facing a maximum term of life in prison if the most serious charge, of large commercial drug supply, was proven.
He has been attacked by other inmates while in custody following media interest in the case.
Magistrate Elizabeth Ellis noted there had been extensive delays in the matter.
The prosecution is yet to outline which charges are going to proceed, more than seven months after his arrest, and Ms Ellis said she would grant El-Zayat bail with a “heavy heart”.
A family member had offered a $50,00 surety for his release and it had been proposed he would live in Sydney.
Concerns had been raised about the father-of-eight returning to Lebanon, which he fled at age three during a civil war.
Co-accused Claudette Tannous, Kylie Maree Pearce, and Thomas Alfred Purtell are likely to be “lining up” to apply for bail following the decision to release El-Zayat, the magistrate said.
Alfred Maxwell Clark had earlier been released on bail.
Ms Ellis warned El-Zayat he wouldn't be given bail again if he breached any of the conditions.
He will return to court on March 19 with Pearce and Tannous.
Clark and Purtell will return a week earlier.