$420,000 of meth seized

Four ar­rested in overnight raids in Auck­land and Ro­torua, prop­erty and cash held

Rotorua Daily Post - - Front Page -

About $420,000 worth of metham­phetamine and $380,000 in cash and as­sets were seized by po­lice in raids on gang-re­lated op­er­a­tions which saw four peo­ple ar­rested.

Dur­ing the overnight oper­a­tion, Ro­torua po­lice, the Na­tional Or­gan­ised Crime Group and the Na­tional As­set Re­cov­ery Unit ex­e­cuted search war­rants in Ro­torua and Auck­land in re­la­tion to the al­leged sale and sup­ply of metham­phetamine.

Ro­torua po­lice also worked with iwi un­der the guid­ance and ko­rowai of Te Pukenga Koeke O Te Arawa.

Ro­torua area com­man­der In­spec­tor Anaru Pe­whairangi said po­lice seized hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of drugs and pos­ses­sions in both Auck­land and Ro­torua.

Po­lice seized six houses, one in Ro­torua, three firearms, a 30-tonne dig­ger, a recre­ational fish­ing boat, four high-end ve­hi­cles and a clas­sic car, and $40,000 cash as well as at least 425 grams of metham­phetamine with an es­ti­mated street value of $420,000.

Ex­clud­ing the houses and drugs, the items seized had an es­ti­mated $380,000 to $400,000 value.

Pe­whairangi said in­ves­ti­ga­tions and searches were on­go­ing.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Ed­die Suther­land, of the Na­tional Or­gan­ised Crime Group, said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion had been long-run­ning and tar­geted an or­gan­ised crime group which in­cluded patched Head Hunters.

He said po­lice were “com­mit­ted to tar­get­ing, pros­e­cut­ing and seiz­ing the as­sets of or­gan­ised crim­i­nals who take ad­van­tage of the ad­dic­tive­ness of metham­phetamine and profit off vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety”.

“Our mes­sage is sim­ple: if you sell drugs, you can ex­pect to be caught and face sig­nif­i­cant time in prison.”

Suther­land said po­lice be­lieved Head Hunters had been try­ing to es­tab­lish a pres­ence in Ro­torua.

Te Pukenga Koeke O Te Arawa chair­man Paraone Pirika said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion formed part of an ini­tia­tive to spread the mes­sage to marae about the fight against P.

“We’re de­liv­er­ing a mes­sage of how this stuff is killing our chil­dren. We can’t be any more bru­tal than that. It’s killing our chil­dren for to­day and for to­mor­row.

“This fight against P is not just ours, this fight is all of ours, it has to be . . . Any­thing that’s rot­ten in our so­ci­ety we have got to take it out.”

Pe­whairangi said the next steps would be to tackle preven­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion.

“There’s plenty of work to be done and the Ro­torua po­lice are up to it. We’ll take on these chal­lenges be­cause it’s the right thing to do.”

The four peo­ple ar­rested dur­ing the raids ap­peared in per­son in the Ro­torua Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day and were re­manded in cus­tody with­out plea to reap­pear on Jan­uary 15.

Ngongo­taha¯ man Paul Ta­mai, 56, ap­peared first. His 10 charges re­lated to of­fer­ing, sup­ply­ing and pos­sess­ing metham­phetamine in No­vem­ber and De­cem­ber this year.

A woman ap­peared shortly after Ta­mai and was granted in­terim name sup­pres­sion by Judge Tony Snell.

We’re de­liv­er­ing a mes­sage of how this stuff is killing our chil­dren. We can’t be any more bru­tal than that. Paraone Pirika

Her two charges re­late to money laun­der­ing, in con­nec­tion with the al­leged metham­phetamine ring, be­tween April 2015 and De­cem­ber this year.

She re­mained silent through­out her ap­pear­ance and held her hands clasped in front of her body.

Ngongo­taha¯ man Dick Dekin Ta­mai, 39, the son of Paul, ap­peared on 19 charges cov­er­ing posses­sion of firearms last month, as well as pos­sess­ing, of­fer­ing to sup­ply, and sup­ply­ing metham­phetamine in Oc­to­ber, No­vem­ber, and De­cem­ber this year.

Auck­land child­care worker Luther Lloyd Toleafoa, 40, ap­peared on more than 50 charges rang­ing from threat­en­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm last month, money laun­der­ing from April 2015 to De­cem­ber 2018, to pos­sess­ing, of­fer­ing to sup­ply and sup­ply­ing metham­phetamine from April to Au­gust this year.

Fol­low­ing the po­lice oper­a­tion, Ro­torua deputy mayor Dave Don­ald­son said the coun­cil sup­ported po­lice in “rid­ding our so­ci­ety of the scourge of metham­phetamine and re­duc­ing the vic­tim­i­sa­tion. There is no room in our so­ci­ety for or­gan­ised crime.”

Te Arawa man and for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer Nga­maru Raerino said metham­phetamine was putting the com­mu­nity in jeop­ardy. For help or con­fi­den­tial ad­vice around drug ad­dic­tions con­tact the Al­co­hol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797.

Head Hunters’ prop­erty was among that seized in overnight po­lice raids re­lated to metham­phetamine pro­duc­tion.

Photo / Stephen Parker

Ro­torua area com­man­der In­spec­tor Anaru Pe­whairangi leads a press con­fer­ence on the raids.

Zizi Sparks

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