Two Tauranga men accused of manufacturing $2.3 million of P and conspiring to supply the drug have been acquitted by a jury - but the pair still face the prospect of years behind bars for other P-dealing offences.
The jury took almost four hours in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday to find Royce Allan Duncan, 49, of Omanawa, and Wallace Bramley, 38, of Papamoa not guilty of manufacturing 2.35kg of methamphetamine between March 2 and 3, 2010 and conspiring to supply the drug.
The jury was told that Duncan and Bramley had earlier pleaded guilty to a raft of other P-manufacturing and supply charges, including the manufacture of almost $1 million of methamphetamine on March 7, 2010.
On August 30, 2010, police also found 6kg of washed pseudoephedrine in the back of Bramley's car at Bureta Park Motel which the jury heard was capable of producing $2 million worth of P.
The pair had also pleaded guilty to possession of large amounts of other precursor substances, chemicals and equipment they had planned to use in their drug-dealing business.
That included Duncan being caught with 74kg of iodine and 70-80 litres of toulene stored at his house when it was searched on September 20, 2010.
That amount of iodine was capable of being used to produce up to 56kg of P, the jury was told.
The Crown alleged that Duncan and Bramley had produced the $2.3 million worth of P during a 12-hour period on March 2-3, 2010.
Two of the men's associates were also on trial.
Former police officer and real estate agent Nigel David Walker, 47, was found guilty of one count of conspiring with Duncan to money launder some of the proceeds of his P-dealing business.
The offence relates to Duncan's planned purchase of an industrial unit at Mount Maunganui's Aerodrome Rd in September, 2010.
The jury also found 36-year-old Stacey Helen Clark, aka Russell, guilty of one count each of supplying equipment, namely scales, to Duncan, knowing they would be used to manufacture P, and possession of cannabis for supply.
When police searched Clark's Pyes Pa Rd address on September 20, 2010 they found eight shopping bags full of cannabis, almost 3kg inside a tupperware container in her garage.
The cannabis was worth up to $31,000 if sold.
Duncan is the father of Clark's 1-year-old child.
The drug charges laid against Duncan, Bramley, Walker and Clark stem from a large-scale police covert surveillance operation code named Operation Safari carried out during 2010.
Police searched several properties in Tauranga and Waikato, and analysed 115,000 text messages and intercepted phone calls between the accused and associates.
Clark and Walker will be sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua on February 8.
Justice Peter Woodhouse granted the pair bail pending sentence with strict conditions.
No sentencing date has yet been set for Duncan and Bramley in relation to the charges they earlier pleaded guilty to.