Drug empire made $5m a year
Albert St in Otahuhu was once the home of a drug empire which was making $35,000 a week.
Abraham Wharewaka snr, who set up the Sindi chapter of Black Power in 1978, led the enterprise.
He used government funding for work schemes to build a 12-unit housing project on Albert St and a 1214ha factory in East Tamaki. The projects earned approval from the highest places — Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon gave his support.
But alongside the work schemes, Wharewaka snr used the factory to prepare cannabis and meth and the Albert St units to sell them. At its peak, it made $5 million a year.
The drug ring in Otahuhu was shut down in 2003. Wharewaka snr was jailed for eight years for making P, cultivating cannabis and belonging to an organised crime group. He was released from jail after five years.
Abraham Wharewaka jnr was sentenced to 22 months in jail in 2005 for being part of an organised crime group and possessing a loaded pistol. The judge called their sophisicated operation “visionary”.