MP backs drug bust

By Mike Barrington


Northland Labour MP Shane Jones has backed a call for people to leave it to police to deal with methamphetamine manufacturing at Whangape on the Far North west coast.

Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, who is married to Te Tai Tokerau MP and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, made the call this week after six baches near the Far North settlement were burned to the ground in what she said could be related to a big drug bust in the area in November.

 ``Hilda deserves admiration, not antagonism,'' Mr Jones said. ``It's a hard call taking on people who profit from the drug P.''

 Police arrested three people at Whangape, where they found $300,000 of methamphetamine, a P lab, and $154,000 in cash - $100,000 of it in an ammunition box hidden in a paddock.

Some Whangape whanau had been accused of being police informants and Mrs Halkyard-Harawira earlier this week urged people to leave matters of justice and P lab operations to the police.

Mr Jones said police were providing a sanitation service by removing ``rubbish'' from Whangape.

``There is nothing redeeming about dealing in P.''

 Whangape kaumatua whom Mr Jones knew in the 1970s would be ``turning in their graves'' over police finding a P lab on their sacred maunga Whakakoro.

``But the culprits will be tossing and turning on bunks at Ngawha.

``It's sad movies for them, but it's good for the rest of us if P is no longer being made in the area,'' he said.

Of the three Whangape people arrested in November, 45-year-old Frank William Murray has been remanded in custody awaiting trial on charges including manufacturing and supplying methamphetamine, possessing equipment for manufacturing the drug, money laundering and participating in a criminal group.

The other two arrested, Colin McKendrick Murray, 59, and Betty Anne Lloyd, 53, have been bailed to appear in the Kaitaia District Court on March 1 on charges including money laundering and participating in an organised criminal group.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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