Inquiry results in drug charge arrest

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ONE MORE: Police lead the Kaitaia man arrested on Friday to a patrol car.
ONE MORE: Police lead the Kaitaia man arrested on Friday to a patrol car.

Police have made another arrest in their ongoing investigation into the murder of 35-year-old Kaitaia man Lee Rata.

A 32-year-old man was arrested at his home in Kaitaia on Friday on charges of supplying methamphetamine and possession of a precursor.

He was remanded in custody without plea, to appear in the Kaitaia District Court on January 28.

Detective Inspector Kevin Burke, who is heading the inquiry into Mr Rata's death, said the arrest was not directly connected with the murder inquiry but had been made in the course of the inquiry.

The same went for three Mongrel Mob members who were arrested on drug and other charges in Moerewa last week when about 40 police raided at least three homes in the town.

Mr Burke said that the murder inquiry was on-going. A Kaitaia man in his 20s, who has been granted interim name suppression, was arrested last week and charged with the murder of Mr Rata, and was remanded in custody to appear in the High Court at Whangarei on February 4.

Police still believed more than one person had been involved in Mr Rata's death and officers were continuing to talk to witnesses who were in Bonnetts Rd, or at the wedding function that Mr Rata had attended earlier on New Year's Eve, to determine precisely who was where and what had happened.

He repeated his request for anyone who had any information, however minor it might appear, and who had not yet spoken to police to call the inquiry team at the Kaitaia station on (09) 408 6500.

A member of the public found Mr Rata, who was grievously injured, in Bonnetts Road, shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve. He died the following day at Whangarei Hospital.

A Givealittle page set up for the dead man's family (www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help4Lee) has raised more than $2650.

- Northern Advocate

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