P ringleader jailed for 11 years

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Photo / File
Photo / File

The main ringleader of a methamphetamine network which worked through central New Zealand has been jailed for more than 11 years.

Craig Matthews was this morning sentenced to 11 years and nine months' imprisonment when he appeared for sentencing in the High Court at Wellington.

Another three men who were also involved in the operation were also sentenced this morning.

Herre Van Niekerken was imprisoned for nine years and six months, Jeremy Horne received 10 years and four months' imprisonment, and Anthony Te Moni received six months' community detention.

In February last year, central district police coordinated an operation over five districts to catch those responsible, including Rebels gang members, for the production and supply of methamphetamine.

Police arrested 31 people, of whom 13 were identified as key figures in the group, police said in a statement following today's sentencings.

Matthews was the last person to be sentenced.

Most of the 13 people who were arrested received terms of imprisonment ranging from two years to just under 12 years.

During the police operation, 36 vehicles were seized, including BMWs, Mercedes, a Hummer, and Harley Davidson motorcycles, as well as approximately $400,000 in cash, firearms, cannabis, and 450 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of around $450,000.

A clandestine lab was found in Murupara.

"This operation has made a significant dent in the distribution of methamphetamine in the central district," Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann said.

Police said they also found evidence that gangs were working together, and an increased presence of the Rebels gang in New Zealand.

- APNZ

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