A hairdresser facing charges in connection with a high-profile alleged cocaine sting in Auckland has lost name suppression.
In October celebrity stylist Mobeen Bhikoo, 40, pleaded not guilty to 17 class-A drug charges including possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply.
Bhikoo's lawyer Ron Mansfield sent the Herald a statement from his client, who said he was currently dealing with "serious allegations before the court".
"I have had suppression to date and had the ability to apply for further suppression. However, with the support of my family and friends I do not intend to do so."
He said suppression was only initially sought to "protect other people's interests. It now leaves me free to respond to these allegations.
"That is a relief to me. That means I can now be open with what is going on and I will do so.
"I never wanted to hide from these allegations or be seen to be doing that. It simply ... encourages silly and ill-informed speculation.
"Thanks to all those that continue to know me and support me."
The hairdresser along with a fashion designer Christopher Lay, 42, and senior Hells Angel gang member Anthony "Ants" Nansen, 34, were the three original targets in Operation Ceviche, which led to the seizure of 760g of cocaine worth $300,000,and $81,000 cash last August.
Lay has pleaded guilty to seventeen charges relating to the supply and possession to supply cocaine.
Police allege each of the trio were running their "own mini drug supply networks".
Thirteen other people were arrested, including a male model, a plumber, a clothing distributor and a film production assistant.
Among the alleged cocaine clientele is a stockbroker, an executive, a recruitment agency owner, the ex-husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer. They are named in court documents but haven't been charged.
The alleged operation was uncovered after police monitored the phone calls and movements of a Nomad gang sergeant-at-arms, which led investigators to Bhikoo and Lay.
The covert investigation by the National Organised Crime Group initially focused on Nansen, a patched Hells Angels members and champion kickboxer.
The three phases of the investigation, which lasted several months, ended with police raids in late August and a single seizure of the drugs and cash.
In a press release at the time, Detective Senor Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the cocaine was a significant find.
"It's unusual to achieve such a big domestic seizure," Schmid said.
"Cocaine is usually picked up in smaller amounts, so [the] find is indicative of people who have been heavily involved in persistent, premeditated, career drug dealing."