A senior Auckland gangster behind a popular city gym has been charged with participating in organised crime and six methamphetamine drug offences.
He’s one of the 24 people arrested last month in relation to a multi-million-dollar Class A drug supply chain between Auckland and Christchurch.
The man was released on electronic bail last week with additional conditions, including that he does not access the gym or other gym facilities or have access to a phone or any internet-capable device. Police had opposed his bail application.
Auckland District Court Judge Warren Cathcart also granted him interim name suppression.
The man is jointly charged with participating in organised crime with nine others and is due to reappear in court early next year.
Police have made 24 arrests and seized firearms and significant quantities of illegal drugs, as part of two long-running investigations targeting a Class A drug supply chain between Auckland and Christchurch. Photo / New Zealand Police
He is also facing one charge of possession for supply of a class A drug and the five other Class A drug supply charges, each carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Participating in an organised criminal group carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson, of the National Organised Crime Group (NOCG), said the operations, dubbed Operation Italian Sky (Christchurch) and Operation Sumatra (Auckland) included 32 search warrants over the course of four weeks.
Auckland and Christchurch police laid more than 80 charges and made seizures including 5kg of methamphetamine, 3.5kg of cocaine, three firearms (pistol, shotgun and rifle), an $80,000 stolen vehicle, jewellery and more than $500,000 in cash.
The cocaine and meth have an estimated street value of almost $3 million. This equates to 235,000 doses and an estimated $5.5m of social harm.
According to Thomson, the 24 arrests include 11 people in Christchurch and 13 in Auckland, of whom 22 are males and two are females, all aged between 20 and 50.
The 24 will face a total of more than 80 charges including supplying methamphetamine, supplying cocaine, participation in an organised criminal group, possession of firearms, money laundering, and possession of drug manufacturing equipment.
Katie Harris is an Auckland-based journalist who covers social issues including sexual assault, workplace misconduct, crime and justice. She joined the Herald in 2020.
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