Jury told of coded texts in drugs case

By Sandra Conchie

Police trawled through more than 80,000 texts messages and phone calls made by four Tauranga accused who are on trial defending multi-million dollar drug manufacture and supply charges.

That included a text sent by Stacey Helen Clark, aka Russell, 36, from Pyes Pa to Royce Allan Duncan, 49, of Omanawa on September 1, 2010, in which she told him the price of the purchase of a chainsaw he was interested in buying would be "a quarter pack from KFC".

On day two of the trial in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday a police detective told the jury that this was special code relating to a quarter gramme, quarter pound or quarter ounce of methamphetamine.

The jury also heard further evidence relating to alleged cannabis dealing by Clark and the alleged supply of electronic scales to Duncan knowing they were to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Duncan and a third accused, Wallace Bramley, 38, of Papamoa, are also on trial defending a Crown allegation that overnight on March 2 and 3, 2010, they manufactured more than 2kg of methamphetamine, which had a street value of $2.34million.

They have also both denied one joint count each of conspiring to supply the drug.

The fourth accused, former policeman and real estate agent Nigel David Walker, 47, has denied one count of conspiring with Duncan to engage in a money-laundering transaction in respect to the purchase of an industrial unit at Mount Maunganui's Aerodrome Rd.

Clark, a housewife, has denied one count of possession of cannabis for supply which relates to an allegation that when police searched her Pyes Pa Rd home on September 20, 2010, they found eight shopping bags full of cannabis.

Detective Mike Farrell gave evidence yesterday that during his search of the property he found 2882 grams of cannabis head inside eight bags stored in a tupperware container.

The jury was earlier told by a police officer that the cannabis was worth between $17,000 and $31,000. Mr Farrell said another 94g of loose cannabis leaf was found inside a ninth shopping bag.

Other various drug related items were also found, including 476mg of crystal methamphetamine, a cannabis bong, a large number of empty ziplock bags, six latex gloves and three sets of scales.

Two of the scales bore traces of methamphetamine and cannabis residue on them, the jury was told.

Yesterday the jury heard numerous intercepted phone calls between Clark and Duncan and a series of text messages between the pair were read to them.

That included a call during which a hyped-up Duncan is heard telling Clark he urgently needed scales to complete the job he was doing.

A police expert has given evidence that the job referred to by Duncan relates to the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Another police detective gave evidence that when police searched Duncan's Bonniglen Rd address on September 20, 2010 they also found several sets of electronic scales, some of which bore traces of methamphetamine.

ESR forensic scientist Turlough Thomas-Stone told the jury that along with Clark's DNA, an unidentified male's DNA was found inside one or more of the six latex gloves tested.

But under cross-examination by Trudy Talbot - one of Clark's two lawyers - Mr Thomas-Stone conceded that he could not exclude the possibility that the male's DNA belonged to Clark's former husband.

During cross-examination of one police witnesses, the jury heard evidence that Clark's former husband has convictions for cannabis and methamphetamine possession.

The charges against the four accused stem from a large-scale police surveillance operation dubbed Operation Safari, which was carried out during 2010.

During the operation, police searched several properties, intercepted phone calls and analysed more than 83,000 text messages between Duncan and the other accused, and several other people.

As a result of the same operation Duncan and Bramley earlier pleaded guilty to a raft of other methamphetamine manufacture and supply charges, which the Crown says is clear evidence of their capacity to manufacture substantial amounts of P.

The trial, presided over by Justice Peter Woodhouse, has been adjourned until Monday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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