Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Govt takes $1.6m in P case

A 12m berth in Whangamata Marina worth $120k was part of the seizure.
A 12m berth in Whangamata Marina worth $120k was part of the seizure.

A Waihi methamphetamine cook sentenced to a 17-year prison term has had $1.6 million worth of his ill-gotten assets forfeited to the Crown.

Scott Warren Filer, 49, was sentenced in February last year for manufacturing 3kg-4kg of methamphetamine with a street value of up to $4 million.

On Tuesday in the High Court at Hamilton, Filer was stripped of $1,592,656.21 worth of property.

The seizure included four properties in Waihi, Whangamata and Cable Bay in Northland worth $585,000, a berth in the Whangamata marina worth $120,000, a digger, $30,000 in bonus bonds, two cars and a ute.

Waikato asset recovery manager Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Hamilton said the seizure meant police were coming out on top.

"The stripping of assets that have been illegally gained is a vital preventative measure because it sends a message ... that crime ultimately does not pay.

"This is the largest seizure from the Waihi-Whangamata area."

More than $30 million in assets has so far been forfeited to the Crown under the Criminal (Proceeds) Recovery Act, while a further $290 million in assets were subject to court restraining orders.

"All of Mr Filer's assets, including the marina berth, will be sold with the profits returning to the community," Mr Hamilton said.

Filer and his co-accused, Steven John Mehrtens, of Whangamata, were found guilty of large-scale methamphetamine production from October 2009 to May 2010.

The pair were arrested in Operation Acacia, a joint inquiry between the Organised and Financial Crime Agency and the Auckland Metro Crime and Operations Support team.

They found a link between an Auckland drug network and methamphetamine cooks in the Coromandel Peninsula which led them to Filer.

The main targets of Operation Acacia, Feng Chih "Daniel" Hsu and Aenoy "Dion" Bouavong, supplied pseudoephedrine to Vietnamese men living in the Coromandel, who on-sold it to a woman. She then passed it on to Mehrtens and Filer.

On Monday, Prime Minister John Key announced that more than $3 million recovered under the Act would be put towards initiatives to break the methamphetamine supply chain and expand alcohol and drug treatment programmes.

Other large seizures

• In 2011 the Crown successfully sought forfeiture of $2.4 million worth of assets from former Tauranga drug kingpin Royce Allan Duncan, which included his 2.3ha lifestyle block worth $550,000, 11 cars and $541,000 cash.

• Meth dealer Timothy Andrew Clifford's sprawling 1100ha Waikato farm where he cooked P and stashed machine guns was forfeited to the Crown and sold for an undisclosed sum this year.

• Waikato businessman Stephen John Gray, convicted of manufacture and supply of methamphetamine, as well as cannabis, ecstasy and LSD, had $5 million worth of property seized this year, including a 295ha farm in Raglan valued at $1.5 million, a 56ha farm in Raglan valued at $1.8 million, his $860,000 home near Hamilton and a $810,000 bach in Whangamata.

- NZ Herald

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