Key Points:

Inmates in our most secure prison are accused of making fortunes from a highly organised drug ring run from behind bars, with at least one alleged to have become a millionaire.

Police documents claim the prisoners ran their methamphetamine importing and manufacturing ring from Auckland Maximum Security Prison at Paremoremo under the noses of - and sometimes with the assistance of - prison officers.

Two investigations completed over 18 months allowed police to plot relationships they believe sustain a major criminal network.

According to the police summary of facts, which has been supplied to defence lawyers under the pre-trial discovery process, the main focus was the drug ring.

Police allege one prisoner with name suppression obtained access to a computer, which he illicitly connected to the internet to organise the banking and investment of drug profits.

Charges have been laid against more than a dozen people in connection with the ring, including senior King Cobra members Ulaisi "Rocky" Pulete and Michael Anthony Laumanu. All defendants have denied all charges after appearing before district courts in North Shore and Waitakere and a depositions hearing is expected later this year.

Police allege Laumanu controlled the manufacture of methamphetamine while Pulete directed the supply and distribution.

A number of gangs were also linked to the enterprise, including the Head Hunters and Mongrel Mob.

The drug ring was uncovered by police in an 18-month investigation dubbed Operation Web. They allege the accused used cellphones to arrange the importation of methamphetamine precursors from China, and the prisoners organised associates to turn them into P.

One sworn affidavit states Pulete "uses prison staff to facilitate the movement of drugs and cellphones into and out of prison".

Police say a cellphone alleged to belong to Pulete was used to make and receive almost 600 calls between May 14, 2007 and July 2, 2007.

They say the same phone was used to send and receive more than 3800 text messages between June 8, 2007 and July 21, 2007.

Police allege Pulete used prayer sessions of his adopted Islamic faith as a cover to make the calls and send messages.

They claim Pulete discussed "over one million dollars" profit for Wanzhe Gui, another of the accused.

Police believe other prisoners in the syndicate enjoyed similar profits.

The documents also reveal police chose not to talk to the Department of Corrections about the syndicate "due to the very sensitive [nature] of this police investigation".

Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon said the lack of security offered to guards meant "the prisoners run that prison on intimidation".

He said the situation would continue, and prisoners would be able to smuggle in whatever they wanted, until assaults and threats against guards were treated seriously.

Act MP and law and order spokesman David Garrett endorsed Hanlon's view, calling for prisoners to be punished for infractions, including solitary confinement and hard labour.

Corrections' Northern Regional manager Warren Cummins rejected Hanlon's claim that guards at Paremoremo were intimidated, although he said constant guarding was needed to protect staff.

He said blocking technology due to be introduced would remove the cellphone problem.