Fugitive found in raid on house

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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One of Taranaki's five most wanted fugitives was locked up yesterday after an early morning police raid.

Robert Hills, 44, and another man in his 40s were arrested at an Opunake Rd property, near Auroa Rd, shortly after 8am.

Hills, who was one of five most wanted criminals named in the Taranaki Daily News this month, was wanted for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine.

Detective Sergeant Greg Gray said police were executing a warrant at the house when they noticed "stuff that required the presence of the Fire Service".

A section of Opunake Rd was cordoned for most of the day by police and firefighters from Opunake, New Plymouth and Kaponga.

The house remained under guard over night and a Fire Service team will begin the extensive cleanup process today.

"We believe chemicals are involved," Mr Gray said.

"Once the scene is vented and been cleared we will look at processing what we find."

A nearby resident was shocked to discover someone was living in the farm house.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said as far as she knew no-one had been living there for some time.

"There used to be heaps of cars there but all of a sudden it went quite dead."

Four other Taranaki fugitives remain on the loose:

Tamati Ruka Thomas, 31, was wanted for an alleged attack on another inmate, who has been treated for a broken jaw, while Thomas was in New Plymouth Prison for an aggravated robbery. He was released on November 12.

Rangi Abraham, 21, is facing domestic assault charges including injuring with intent in June. He has failed to appear in court.

Nico Joseph, 20, was due to appear in the Hawera District Court in September for burglary and stealing cars.

Matthew Ross Ratu, 34, is facing money laundering and burglary charges and has a warrant out for his arrest.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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