Head Hunters' vehicles to be seized following methamphetamine bust
A Chevrolet Silverado used by a gang member to traffic methamphetamine will be one of three seized by Police following a High Court decision.
Head Hunters motorcycle club member Michael Sean Murray, of Timaru, was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison for the supply of methamphetamine on October 23, 2015, after he was found in possession of 500 grams of the drug while driving on State Highway 1 near Taupo in October, 2014.
Following his arrest, the Police Commissioner Mike Bush sought a profit forfeiture order under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009, ordering Murray pay at least $479,000, the agreed estimate value of the methamphetamine found in his vehicle.
In a High Court written decision, issued on November 10, Justice Gendall says the court "must make a profit forfeiture order under that provision if it is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Mr Murray has unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity within the relevant period of criminal activity, and has interests in the property in question".
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"Mr Murray claims that he was simply stopped with the methamphetamine in his vehicle and, as only the courier engaged in this activity, he got nothing for his troubles," Justice Gendall says in the decision.
"Ms McKenzie for the applicant contends the evidence must suggest in this case that Mr Murray, as a senior patched Head Hunters gang member, was not simply a courier of the drugs but was a major part in their sale and distribution."
Murray had "effective control" over a 2008 Harley Davidson FXST Softail standard motorcycle, 2008 Ford Falcon BA XR8 4A vehicle and 1995 Chevrolet Silverado pickup vehicle, Justice Gendall says in the decision.
It was these three vehicles the police would be authorised to seize, following the High Court decision.
About 500 grams of methamphetamine, which had a street value of between $300,000 and $500,000, was found hidden in four containers under the lining of the truck deck.
"Police also recorded that he had in his possession at the time $1794.90 in cash and a cell phone," Justice Gendall says.
Murray was bailed until he appeared in Taupo District Court, charged with possession of a Class A controlled drug on October 29.
"A search warrant was then executed at Mr Murray's residential address at Marshall Rd, Timaru."
At the time of his arrest in Taupo, Murray was on court-imposed bail after he had been arrested on July 9, 2014, in Auckland and charged with unlawful possession of a pistol, unlawful possession of explosives (ammunition), and possession of Class B controlled drug gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.
The Commissioner also sought a profit forfeiture order against the estate of Donna Marie Howse, who died shortly before June 9.