Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Police hunt for pill machine used by designer-drug ring

Designer drugs seized by the police in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Designer drugs seized by the police in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

The police are hunting for a machine that pressed "hundreds of thousands" of pills for an alleged designer-drug ring.

The identity of the man known as "The Presser" was not known until 10 other people were arrested last week in Operation Greenstone on charges of importing, supplying and selling Ecstasy-type pills.

Cameron Blair Broxton was arrested the next day on charges of manufacturing and possessing Class-B and -C drugs and participating in an organised criminal group.

The 28-year-old was caught on camera during a covert five-month investigation when he met a 54-year-old called the "Book Keeper", who has interim name suppression. The police did not know who Broxton was.

Broxton was remanded in custody when he appeared in the Auckland District Court. The police opposed bail on the grounds he was a flight risk and could interfere with witnesses.

Judge Stan Thorburn was shown emails between Broxton and the "Book Keeper", who allegedly supplied him with the powders to press into Ecstasy pills. In the emails, the two men discussed price and problems with the strength of the drug mix.

Hundreds of thousands of pills were made, according to police, and large amounts of money were allegedly exchanged between the pair.

The police say Broxton was paid $2 for each pill. They retail for between $40 and $50 each.

Police were concerned Broxton would destroy evidence if he were granted bail and said in court that the pressing machine had not been found.

A week after the first court appearance, Detective Sergeant Bruce Howard confirmed that police were still searching for the equipment.

"We are very interested in talking to anyone who might know where it is," said Mr Howard. Broxton is scheduled to appear again on September 18.

Four of his co-accused, including the "Book Keeper", will appear in the Auckland District Court today to apply for bail and continued name suppression. One is a businessman, known to others in the alleged syndicate as "The Boss".

He and two others, including Brendon Nguyen, were on bail on the same criminal charges laid in Operation Ark last November. More than $20 million worth of assets were seized.

Name suppression has lapsed for one of the men said to have played an important role in the syndicate, a Briton known as "The Banker".

Craig Williams, 46, this week abandoned his bid to be bailed to his apartment in the Metropolis tower.

CAN YOU HELP?
Anyone who knows where the pressing machine can be found can contact Detective Sergeant Bruce Howard on (09) 259 0733 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

- NZ Herald

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