A Sydney man caught conspiring with the Comancheros over a $1 million drug deal in Auckland did so "to return some faith" after borrowing money from an associate of the gang, a court has heard.
He Sha was sentenced today in the Auckland District Court by Judge Claire Ryan to a term of three years' imprisonment.
The 33-year-old Australian-Chinese national was arrested as part of a covert National Organised Crime Group investigation into the activities of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club, code-named Operation Nova.
He was arrested alongside several others, including an Auckland lawyer, media personality, accountant and leaders of the gang.
Yesterday, the Herald on Sunday revealed exclusive details about Sha's offending, after he had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply a class B controlled drug. It included police listening bugs in cars and a $1m cash for pseudoephedrine deal, a drug that can be used to manufacture meth.
Today, Judge Ryan said Sha, who was aided by a Mandarin interpreter and wearing a Covid-19 mask, had come to New Zealand with "the purpose of committing a crime".
Referring to a pre-sentence report, Judge Ryan said Sha originally came to NZ to collect money on behalf of a friend in Australia.
"You claim it was not for the purpose of dealing in drugs. You said the only reason you took the job was because of the financial stress you were under at that stage," she said.
"You said you had no knowledge of drugs at all. That is contrary to the summary of facts and I do not accept it."
Sha was trained as a hairdresser and the court heard he had met one of his now alleged co-offenders in 2013 when they were one of his clients.
Judge Ryan said Sha had explained that he had borrowed about $20,000 from the alleged co-offender and was "required to return some faith".
"Once he's eligible for parole and granted it he will of course be deported, and that will be a matter of the Parole Board," the judge said of Sha, an Australian citizen.
The identities of Sha's alleged co-conspirators can not be reported for legal reasons.
• Revealed: Sydney man's $1m drug conspiracy with Comanchero gang associates in Auckland
• Sydney drug dealer deposited money into trust account of Auckland lawyer
• Money-laundering puzzle: Comancheros lawyer Andrew Neill Simpson jailed
• Comancheros vice-president Tyson Daniels and lawyer Andrew Simpson plead guilty
• Police raids net nearly a dozen Comancheros, including media personality, lawyer, accountant
In a separate proceeding earlier this year, the Comancheros' vice president for the Auckland chapter Tyson Daniels and lawyer Andrew Simpson were jailed for laundering the gang's cash.
Several others associated with the Comancheros, including an accountant and media personality, were arrested in a series of raids last year. They have denied the allegations against them and are set for a High Court trial in September.
More than 80 police officers were involved in the raids, which also led to about $4m of assets being seized, including firearms and several luxury vehicles such as a Rolls-Royce Wraith and gold-plated Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Police have said they believe the gang was importing drugs into New Zealand and has laundered millions of dollars. The Comancheros in Aotearoa are nicknamed the "501s" because of the "character grounds" section of the immigration law used to deport many of them from Australia.