Five men and a woman from Tauranga have been sentenced in the Rotorua High Court for their part in a syndicate involving drugs and money laundering. The sentencing follows a large-scale surveillance operation, Operation Safari, carried out during 2010 targeting an organised crime in the Bay of Plenty Police District.
Royce Duncan, 50 and Wallace Bramley, 38, were sentenced to 15 years jail and 14 years, 5 months respectively, for a raft of charges including the manufacturing of the Class A drug methamphetamine, money laundering and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Dylan Corlett, 38, received 4 years, 5 months, a 35-year-old man who currently has name suppression received 6 years, 4 months and Stacey Russell, 36, received 9 months home detention for drug offences. Nigel Walker, 47, was sentenced to 12 months home detention for money laundering.
Bay of Plenty District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Tim Anderson says that "the syndicate was extremely well-organised, with large-scale operations across the Bay of Plenty and stretching into the Waikato and Auckland."
The six-month operation finished with a tally of 16 raids on properties throughout the region, 12 of which involved Tauranga properties. Police seized more than $200,000 in cash, $100,000 worth of silver and gold coins and bars, nine illegal firearms, 17 cars, five motorcycles including a Harley Davidson, a Haines Hunter power boat, a launch and properties in Omanawa and Ötümoetai and large quantities of methamphetamine.
All of these assets have been, or are subject to the civil forfeiture regime where 'ill-gotten gains' are seized from offenders.
"These people are long-term offenders who essentially make their living from organised criminal activity, in this case, the manufacture and supply of methamphetamine," said Inspector Anderson.
"The drug dealing activity of those arrested and charged in this termination is significant and covered the spectrum from street level, to high end dealing and supply, with the estimated value of drugs distributed in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“This operation has highlighted the link to property offending, with large amounts of stolen property being fed through members of this group. It had the technology, equipment, chemicals and capability to produce large quantities of methamphetamine with the potential to cause a great deal of harm to the community.
"Bay of Plenty Police is committed to eradicated illicit drugs in our towns and cities and bringing those involved to justice. Your information will help put a stop to this illegal activity. You can make a difference."
If you have information about drug manufacture and supply or any other offending, ring your local police station. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.