Mongrel mob drug bust defendants sentenced

19:54, Apr 30 2014

Seven people have admitted drugs charges after appearances in the Blenheim District Court following police Operation Farewell last year.

The operation, which took place in September, targeted Mongrel Mob drug activities in Marlborough. Nine of those arrested in the operation appeared in the court yesterday.

James Samuel Kiriona, 40, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on the three charges he admitted, of offering to supply class B drugs Ritalin and cannabis oil, and offering to sell cannabis.

Despite the 18 month sentence, Kiriona would be released from prison shortly, after spending about seven months on remand.

Judge Bruce Davidson said that was equivalent to about 15 months' in prison following sentence.

Kiriona's offending covered a nine to 10 month period from March 2012 to January 2013. During that time Kiriona offered to supply capsules of cannabis oil on numerous occasions, each worth $30.

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He also offered to supply about 12-20 cannabis "tinnies", and an unknown amount of Ritalin to people during that time.

The judge said Kiriona's offending was low level dealing but had been ongoing for several months.

He gave him credit for his guilty pleas and sentenced him to six months post-release conditions on top of the prison sentence.

Denise Adele August yesterday admitted offering to supply a class C drug and receiving a stolen car.

The 37-year-old woman was arrested on the charges during Operation Farewell, although the incidents did not strictly relate to the operation.

The court heard August sent two text messages between March 8 and April 2 in 2011, offering to sell codeine. Although the exact amount was not known, it was thought to be around 10 tablets, worth around $200.

In August 2013, August came into possession of a stolen Mitsubishi vehicle through a relative.

The judge said August had a moderate list of previous convictions spanning 16 years from 1994 to 2010. They consisted largely of driving and dishonesty offences.

Davidson said the aggravating features, if there were any, were limited, and gave her credit for her guilty plea and personal circumstances, which meant prison was not appropriate.

He sentenced her to 250 hours' community work on each charge, to be served concurrently.

Tauris Aporo Taurima, 25, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to supply methamphetamine.

The judge said Taurima had been involved in the conspiracy with his uncle to purchase 28 grams of the drug in July 2013.

His involvement in the deal included assisting with potential travel arrangements to get the methamphetamine from Auckland, as well as an attempt to provide payment for the drugs.

In the end, 14 grams of methamphetamine was purchased.

The judge said the defendant's involvement had been far from central, but he was not convinced that it was peripheral either.

Taurima also had a fairly extensive list of previous convictions between 2007 and 2013, but was showing signs of getting his life on track, with "excellent employment" and stable living circumstances in the Hawke's Bay, he said.

He remanded Taurima on bail to reappear in the Blenheim District Court for sentence on July 8.

Tony Taurima admitted two charges of conspiring to supply methamphetamine, and one of supplying the same drug.

Judge Davidson said over a six to seven month period between 2012 and 2013, Taurima supplied 4.5 grams of methamphetamine to an unknown person.

He was also involved in two conspiracies to supply more of the same drug.

The first conspiracy involved about one or two grams of methamphetamine, while the second, in July 2013, 14 grams of the drug.

During that deal, Taurima received an unknown amount of the methamphetamine and a small amount of cash, the judge said.

Aggravating features of the offending included its commercial, premeditated and ongoing nature, the judge said.

Taurima had been "something more than a fringe player, but not a key player" in the operation, he said, before remanding him until May 29 for sentencing on the charges in the Wellington District Court.

Aaron Shane Harris, 43, of Picton was also remanded for sentencing after admitting a charge of conspiring to supply methamphetamine.

The judge said Harris, a plumber, was not a member of the Mongrel Mob, but had an association with a senior member of the gang.

Over two days in July 2013, Harris arranged for an associate to purchase about a gram of methamphetamine, the judge said.

There was an attempt by Harris to finance a larger purchase but ultimately that deal did not continue, he said.

He remanded Harris until July 8 for sentencing options to be explored.

Kingi Hamlin Kaukau, 32, appeared for sentence on three representative charges, of offering to supply methamphetamine, selling cannabis and possession of cannabis for supply.

He admitted the charges in court on March 19.

The court heard the charge of offering to supply methamphetamine had involved 0.1-0.2 grams of the drug.

The judge said this could only be described as "low level offending", but there had been some degree of persistence because a number of texts were sent by Kaukau offering to supply the drugs.

During a police search of his house on September 3 last year, three tinnies, some cash and a "tick list" had been found. He also acknowledged to police that he had been selling the cannabis tinnies, and about $1250 worth of the class C drug had been sold.

On each of the charges Kaukau was sentenced to four months' community detention, 80 hours' community work and six months' supervision, to be served concurrently.

Leanne Marie Parr, 42, admitted two representative charges, of offering to supply methamphetamine, and offering to supply ritalin.

The judge said Parr made 12 offers to supply a total of about 2.5 grams of methamphetamine, with a potential value of about $2500 between October 2012 and March 2013.

There were also offers to supply class B drug ritalin during the same period, which were likely to have been for small amounts of the drug, the judge said.

Despite the small amounts of drugs involved, the offending had been ongoing.

She was remanded to reappear for sentence on July 8.

Sean Barclay admitted two charges of conspiring to supply methamphetamine and one of offering to supply methamphetamine.

The judge said Barclay had essentially been one of two Wellington connections for a proposed purchase of 28 grams of methamphetamine by Mongrel Mob members in Marlborough from a supplier in Auckland in July 2013, acting as an intermediary.

Only 14 grams of the drug was purchased during that supply.

A second conspiracy involved an agreement to purchase 17 grams of the drug from the Auckland supplier, which later fell through.

The charge of offering to supply methamphetamine involved a three day period in mid July 2013, when Barclay sent eight text messages in which there were five offers to supply about four grams of the drug.

He has been remanded on bail for sentence in the Wellington District Court on May 29.

Christopher Bishop Wallace Taurima, 47, also appeared for a sentencing indication on the 59 charges he is facing relating to Operation Farewell yesterday.

Details of his hearing have been suppressed.

His case is to be called again on June 10, however his attendance has been excused on that date.

The Marlborough Express