Pair plead guilty to drugs and weapons charges

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 10/06/2014

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A Hamilton man used encrypted internet sites to import drugs for manufacture while his associate was found in possession of military style firearms and explosives.

Matthew Benjamin Collins, 24, ordered a raft of items from cannabis seeds to Class B drug MDMA, to drug-growing equipment over a 12-month period through the internet between September 5, 2012, and August 1, 2013.

Collins pleaded guilty to 20 drug importation and drug supply charges in the Hamilton District Court on Thursday.

His co-accused, Jared Arthur Underwood, 26, admitted five drug-related charges along with possession of a cut-down single shot shotgun, possession of an explosive and possession of an AR15 assault rifle and 30 round ammunition magazine.

The court heard after securing a post office box in early 2012, Collins, who was living in Hillcrest at the time, organised the importation of various drugs for manufacture through encrypted internet sites from September 2012, until a police search on August 1, 2013.

Packages were sent to Collins' Hillcrest house, along with Underwood's house on Morrinsville Rd.

During the offending period, Collins imported a total of six packages from either the United Kingdom or Netherlands, containing 126 cannabis seeds.

Collins also imported 100 LSD tablets, 103 MDMA tablets, two separate packages of MDMA and P and seven separate imports of Ecstasy totalling 85.19gm from either Canada or Germany. Ecstasy can range from $120 to $350 per gram.

Collins also imported glassware in April last year before renting a warehouse on Kahikatea Drive in June.

Throughout July, Collins also ordered packages of cellulose powder and empty gelatine capsules. He tried, unsuccessfully on two occasions, to import a pill press but each time it was confiscated by customs.

Police carried out a search of the Kahikatea Dr warehouse on August 1 and discovered a variety of equipment used to grow cannabis. Collins was also found in possession of a book, Organic Chemistry for Dummies and $11,300 cash.

When police searched the bedroom of Underwood's Morrinsville Rd house, they found a container with 151 LSD tablets, 13.9gm of ecstasy, 3668 tabs of a psychoactive substance, 46.7gm of cannabis seed, up to 17,000 MDMA tablets and $4690 cash.

However, when police searched a drawer they found two pipe bombs, two Japanese road flares and two improvised explosive devices and gunpowder. A cut down single shot shotgun was also found along with several military-style weapons.

When spoken to by police, Underwood admitted making and previously detonating one of the pipe bombs.

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Underwood said he was aware Collins had been importing and selling the drugs and he had held packages for him in the past.

Police found that between October 2012 and August 2013 Underwood was able to bank $50,000 which had no legitimate source.

When police spoke to Collins, he acknowledged having the Kahikatea Dr property and importing the pill presses and glassware but denied owning the powder or pills.

The pair were remanded on bail for sentencing in September.

- Waikato Times

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