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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Please attribute to Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Fischer of the Central Asset Recovery Unit Wellington: 

A total of $692,461.60 is to be forfeited to the Crown, following an investigation into methamphetamine dealing in Porirua.

Three people associated with the Mongrel Mob were convicted in the Wellington High Court between 1 April 2021 and 20 April 2021, following a 2017 Police investigation into their roles selling and supplying methamphetamine. 

The 2017 Police operation saw Wellington’s Central Asset Recovery Unit run a simultaneous Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act (CPRA) enquiry alongside the criminal investigation.

A search warrant at a Porirua address in March 2017 found Senior Patched Mongrel Mob leader Mack Charles Hunt and his wife Fern Hine Puhitai Tawhai in possession of 94.6 grams of methamphetamine, $40,594 cash and firearms.

Tawhai was stopped by Police driving a vehicle through Porirua in September 2017. During a search of the vehicle, $249,950 cash was located inside the vehicle and seized.

In April 2021, Hunt was convicted of possession of methamphetamine for supply and unlawful possession of firearms, receiving a sentence of four months community detention, and nine months supervision. 

Tawhai was convicted for money laundering, the possession of methamphetamine for supply, and attempting to pervert the course of justice, also receiving four months’ community detention, and nine months supervision. 

A third person, Porirua man Kurt Adam Thomas, was also convicted in May 2021 for perverting the course of justice, for his role in attempting to disguise the ownership of the cash located by Police in the vehicle Tawhai was driving.

He received a sentence of 80 hours community work and five months supervision.

Police sought from the High Court in Wellington the forfeiture of $692,461.60 pursuant to the CPRA. This amount included cash totalling $291,681.59.

The intention of the CPRA is to prevent, disrupt and deter crime, denying criminals the opportunity to benefit from their offending, and reduce their ability to re-invest in criminal activity.

A judgement in favour of the Crown was released by the Wellington High Court on Friday 27 August 2021, agreeing the seized cash was tainted by virtue of being derived from the significant criminal activity of methamphetamine sales.

In addition to the seized cash, Police calculated the offenders had profited from the sale of methamphetamine to the tune of $400,780.01 during the relevant period. This profit was included in the overall amount to be forfeited to the Crown.

Two motor vehicles belonging to Hunt and Tawhai were also forfeited.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Fischer says “This is another example of Police successfully targeting organised crime, and the harm they cause the community. 

“Police are united with the community, working hard to remove methamphetamine and recover criminal proceeds from organised crime figures. 

Targeting criminal groups like the Mongrel Mob has a direct effect on the supply of drugs in our community; the seizure of cash and benefits derived from this drug activity sends the message Police are working collectively with the community to prevent the harm caused by methamphetamine, preventing it from destroying our homes and families.”

Police encourage anyone with information about criminal activity to contact them on the 105 number, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

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