Dick Tamai boasted to an undercover police officer he supplied methamphetamine to 'half of Rotorua', as well as selling large quantities of the Class-A drug and a shotgun. The covert police investigation thwarted the plans of the Head Hunters to start a new chapter in the city.

A father-and-son team who boasted of controlling half of the methamphetamine trade in Rotorua were caught by a pair of undercover police officers posing as drug dealers.

The covert investigation, Operation Janzi, also stopped the plans of the Head Hunters to establish another chapter of the gang and increase their influence in the Bay of Plenty.

Paul Tamai, 58, and his son Dick Tamai, 41, were prospects for the outlaw motorcycle gang and in frequent communication with a patched Head Hunter in Auckland whose phones were tapped by the National Organised Crime Group.

The plan was for the pair, who live in Ngongotaha, to become full members themselves and help the gang get a foothold in Rotorua.

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Paul Tamai travelled to Auckland to pick up large quantities of methamphetamine, while his son would sell it in Rotorua on his behalf.

Their world came crashing down in December 2018 when police seized around $420,000 worth of methamphetamine and $380,000 in cash and assets.

Father and son were arrested in the raids and both pleaded guilty in February 2020 to multiple charges of possession of a Class-A drug for supply, supplying or offering to supply a Class-A drug, and in Dick Tamai's case, unlawful possession of firearms.

Paul Tamai also admitted unlawful possession of ammunition.

The convictions carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and both men will be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court in June.

Paul Tamai will be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court next month on methamphetamine charges. Photo / Supplied
Paul Tamai will be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court next month on methamphetamine charges. Photo / Supplied
Dick Tamai will be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court next month on methamphetamine charges. Photo / Supplied
Dick Tamai will be sentenced in the Rotorua District Court next month on methamphetamine charges. Photo / Supplied

Following their convictions, NZME can reveal the most damning evidence against Paul and Dick Tamai was gathered by a pair of undercover police officers.

One of the special duties constables, known as "Mike" went to Dick Tamai's home on Reeme St, Ngongotaha on 29 October 2018 to buy methamphetamine.

Tamai, who told the undercover officer he supplied "half of Rotorua now", said he could sell an ounce of methamphetamine for $8000.

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If "Mike" was interested, Tamai could arrange for up to 50 ounces (just over 1.4kg) in a single sale. To sweeten the deal, if "Mike" purchased more than 5 ounces, the price dropped to $7500 for each unit.

When Mike asked for a "Q", or quarter of a gram, as a sample to test for quality of the product, Dick Tamai went to the pantry, returning with a black bag. Inside were electronic scales and a container of meth, which Tamai laid out in front of the police officer.

There was 1½ ounces of methamphetamine in the container, said Tamai, who started filling a little plastic bag sitting on the scales with the drug. He weighed out 0.5 gram, saying "just take that, that's well over", for just $150.

The following day, "Mike" returned and bought a gram for $500. A few weeks later, he returned and asked if he could buy one-quarter of an ounce for $2000. Dick Tamai agreed and weighed out 7.13 grams of methamphetamine on the electronic scales.

The undercover officer returned four days later to buy an ounce for $8000.

This time, Paul Tamai was also at the address and Mike asked him what was the best price for a large deal. An ounce for $7500 was the lowest they would go, said Paul Tamai, adding he had done a 10-ounce deal that morning.

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Operation Janzi then sent in a different undercover officer, "Cam", to buy a gun. Dick Tamai took him to a station wagon parked outside his home, opening the rear door to reveal a sawn-off shotgun and a rifle hidden under the back seat,

The shotgun was $1000, Tamai said, but told the undercover officer to come back the next day to pick it up. Tamai could sell him pistols too, for $2500 each, but "Cam" would have to place an order.

The next day "Cam" returned to buy an ounce of meth for $8000, and talked to Dick Tamai about a different shotgun. The day after the drug deal, Tamai texted "Got it bro" and the police officer came back for the firearm; a cut-down semi-automatic shotgun for $1000.

The Head Hunters planned to set up a new chapter in Rotorua but were thwarted by an undercover investigation. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Head Hunters planned to set up a new chapter in Rotorua but were thwarted by an undercover investigation. Photo / Brett Phibbs

In December 2018, the undercover agents went back to Dick and Paul Tamai to talk about buying a substantial quantity of methamphetamine. A deal was brokered; 15 ounces of methamphetamine for $112,500.

The officers came back the next day, but with only $52,500 in hand. In return, the officer was handed seven ounces of methamphetamine.

Over the course of their deployment as undercover agents, "Mike" and "Cam" bought 260 grams of meth from the Tamais, with an estimated street value of $260,000.

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Shortly after they left, search warrants were executed at the homes of Dick and Paul Tamai. In Dick Tamai's bedroom was an 8mm semi-automatic Bruni pistol and $13,100.

At Paul Tamai's home was 164 rounds of .22 ammunition and $9380 cash.

Police also raided a large block of land on State Highway 5, north of Rotorua.

Another semi-automatic 8mm Bruni pistol was discovered inside a weatherproof drum hidden in the bush, while a 50-round military-style semi-automatic rifle - fitted with a suppressor - was tucked away in the rafters of a building.

Operation Janzi was the latest National Organised Crime Group investigation targeting the Head Hunters, and came as other motorcycle groups such as the Mongol Nation moved into the Bay of Plenty.

As of the end of 2019, the number of gang members in the Bay of Plenty is now 1439 - an increase of 15 per cent over 12 months.

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