Paua poaching ringleader jailed

Last updated 15:19 09/11/2012

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An Upper Hutt paua poaching ringleader who was caught fishing while banned and on parole has been sentenced in the Wellington District Court.

Fifty-four-year-old Saravuthy Mao was identified as the leader of a poaching ring which targeted Wellington's coastlines in early 2010.

He committed these offences while on parole from prison for past poaching offences.

Mao was sentenced yesterday to five years and three months imprisonment and banned from fishing for three years for both his role in a black market paua ring and for methamphetamine offences.

In early 2011, police searched an Upper Hutt house and found scales for measuring methamphetamine, $16,135 cash, and 6.7 grams of methamphetamine.

A further $13,770 cash was later found at an associate's house.

Detective Sergeant Brian Yule said police would continue to work with other agencies to disrupt the criminal activities of offenders.

''This operation stopped a group of people whose activities were causing harm to both the fisheries and to the community they sold drugs to."

Under the Fisheries Act, offences can attract a maximum five years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $250,000.

Associates of Mao were also sentenced this year for their part in poaching and possession and supply of methamphetamine.

A total of $29,905 cash was identified during the investigation and has been forfeited to the Crown.

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- The Dominion Post

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