Nearly $700k forfeited to the Crown following Mongrel Mob methamphetamine probe

Nearly $700k is to be forfeited to the Crown following an investigation into a dealing of methamphetamine linked to the Mongrel Mob in Porirua.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Fischer, of the Central Asset Recovery Unit Wellington, said three people associated with the Mongrel Mob had been convicted in the Wellington High Court in April earlier this year.

It followed a 2017 Police investigation into their involvement in selling and supplying methamphetamine.

The 2017 Police operation had 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,” Fischer said.

“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.”

Hunt was convicted of unlawful possession of firearms as well as possession of methamphetamine for supply in April 2021.

Tawhai was convicted of the possession of methamphetamine for supply, money laundering, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Both Hunt and Tawhai received four months of community detention, and nine months supervision.

Porirua man Kurt Adam Thomas was a third person convicted in May 2021- charged with perverting the course of justice, for his involvement 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 also sought the forfeiture of $692,461.60 pursuant to the CPRA from the Wellington High Court, which 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,” Fischer said.

On Friday August 27 a judgment in favour of the Crown was released by the Wellington High Court – it agreed seized cash was tainted due to it being obtained through the criminal activity of methamphetamine sales.

Police calculated the offenders had profited $400,780 from the sale of methamphetamine, on top of the $291,681.59 of seized cash – which is included in the overall amount to be forfeited.

Police said two motor vehicles belonging to Hunt and Tawhai were also forfeited.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Fischer said it was an example of police successfully targeting organised crime.

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

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

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