Bid to confiscate kingpin's property

Last updated 14:27 07/03/2013

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A Waikato drug kingpin looks set to lose more than $4 million worth of assets after a forfeiture hearing today.

Stephen John Gray, 56, was found guilty at trial last year of several charges, including the manufacture of large quantities of methamphetamine - known as P - and supplying ecstasy.

He had previously pleaded guilty to selling LSD and cannabis too.

Gray, who stood trial with five associates, used a farm in Te Uku to produce P and sold it from a property on Exelby Rd in Hamilton.

In the High Court at Auckland today his lawyer Philip Morgan QC revealed he and the Crown, acting for the commissioner of police, had come to an agreement about forfeiture of property involved in the offending.

Gray will give up two vehicles (worth $45,000 each), the Exelby Rd house (worth $900,000) and the farm (worth $3 million), as well as having to come up with another $1.1 million.

Justice Priestley indicated concern that an order may "clean out" the assets of Gray's family trust but Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster said even after the loss of property he would remain "a very wealthy man".

Gray and the family trust will retain a bach in Whangamata, two rental properties in Hamilton, other vehicles, farm stock and cash assets worth about $2.5 million in total, subject to the judge consenting to the agreement, which will be formalised over night.

Morgan said the "global solution" would negate the chance of lengthy litigation which may go on for years.

This afternoon Foster made sentencing submissions aiming to lock Gray up for more than 20 years.

She said even though his associate Simon Lindsay Kayrouz was "cooking" the methamphetamine, it was at Gray's direction.

"In essence, Gray was the mastermind and it was he who was bankrolling the operation so he had this drug to supply. And Kayrouz was effectively the technician assisting Gray according to Gray's needs," His Honour said, summarising the Crown's stance.

The police investigation between May and October 2009 revealed Gray sold at least 60 ounces of methamphetamine - with a street value of nearly $1 million - 1196 tabs of LSD, 6.9 pounds of cannabis and 800 ecstasy pills.

Large quantities of Hypophosphorous acid, capable of producing more than 12kg of P, were also found at the farm with drugs and $154,000 in cash - evidence, Foster said, of a wholesale and ongoing operation.

Defence will give their submissions this afternoon and Gray is expected to be sentenced tomorrow.

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- Waikato Times

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