Jared Savage

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

Police log 27 visitors each day at P house

Drug kingpin Wayne van de Ven has been sentenced to 17 years in prison. Photo / Supplied
Drug kingpin Wayne van de Ven has been sentenced to 17 years in prison. Photo / Supplied

A hidden camera caught more than 3500 cars or people visiting the fortified home of a major methamphetamine supplier who lived across the road from a school.

Police surveillance on Wayne van de Ven over four months recorded an average of 27 arrivals each day - 1370 of whom stayed for less than five minutes. About 400 different cars were seen.

The police started Operation Hype after informants told them the Papakura property in Jupiter St, close to Rosehill Intermediate and College, was a notorious drug den where P was cooked and sold.

Bags of the class-A drug were sometimes left in the letterbox to be picked up.

The hidden camera and thousands of tapped phone calls and text messages gathered enough evidence to convict van de Ven and 15 others on more than 100 charges.

The 52-year-old was sentenced yesterday in the High Court at Auckland to 17 years in prison after the hearing was delayed several times.

He was described as a kingpin and found guilty on charges of manufacturing up to 1.1kg of methamphetamine.

Van de Ven received a taxpayer-funded sickness benefit but was responsible for cooking methamphetamine worth millions of dollars.

The covert camera outside the Papakura property confirmed that the national president of the Hells Angels, Doug Jay, was a regular visitor.

He was not charged with any offence but another patched member of the motorcycle gang, Lawrence Rongowhakaata Bradley, was sentenced to five years and five months in prison after his arrest in Operation Hype.

Bradley, a former Mongrel Mob member, pleaded guilty to supply and conspiracy to supply methamphetamine, as well as supplying precursor materials.

He obtained pseudoephedrine for van de Ven and was given methamphetamine in return, which Bradley then sold to a network of street dealers.

One of those dealers was Nicholas Jones, who pointed a gun at an unarmed police officer in downtown Auckland in 2010. He was sentenced to four years and five months in prison.

Detective Inspector Dave Lynch was the officer in charge of the Counties Manukau organised crime unit at the time of the Operation Hype investigation.

Now the crime manager for the district, Mr Lynch said organised crime, gangs and drugs were major drivers of crime in the community.

He said stolen goods had been found in half of all searches under drug-dealing warrants this year.

Operation Hype

Searches of properties in Papakura, Pukekohe, Manukau and Auckland City discovered:
*4 clandestine laboratories.
*250g of methamphetamine with a street value of $250,000.
*Nearly $100,000 cash.
*5 pistols, 1 rifle, 1 shotgun, 140 rounds of ammunitions and 2 stun guns.

Circle of violence

Wayne van de Ven received pseudoephedrine from Hells Angel Lawrence Bradley. In return, he gave Bradley large amounts of methamphetamine to sell to his network of drug dealers. One of those was Nicholas Jones, who was found with $10,000 by police officers doing a liquor licence check in downtown Auckland in 2010. Jones tried to flee and pointed a loaded pistol at the unarmed officers before being wrestled to the ground.

- NZ Herald

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