Four people facing charges of manufacturing methamphetamine at a rented bach in Northland were busted after a property manager became suspicious and called police.
Kimberley Gibbons-Hurinui, 32, Charla McIntyre, 19, Jeffery Hall, 35, and Tama Watene-Toi, 52, are facing seven charges in relation to the discovery of a meth lab in Dolphin Pl, on the Tutukaka Coast, on July 10, 2016.
A two-week trial before a jury of 10 women and two men began in the Whangarei District Court today. All four are facing charges of manufacturing meth, possession of equipment with an intention of manufacturing meth, possession of meth for supply, unlawful possession of a restricted weapon, unlawful possession of a pistol, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of an explosive.
In his opening address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Jarred Scott said the defendants relied on the bach's isolation - in that it was set back from the road with a bay in the background - to manufacture a lot of meth.
The bach owners lived in Australia and had contracted letting agency Coastal Holiday Homes to manage the property on their behalf.
Scott said that on July 6, 2016, Hall called the letting agency to inquire about renting the bach and said he would pay cash, but he was told to book online and pay by credit card.
Once the booking was made and $2600 paid for nine nights, a female employee of Coastal Holiday Homes tried to get hold of Hall to make arrangements to drop off firewood at the bach.
Three days later, Scott said the employee went to the property and saw a few things that seemed out of place, such as a run-down van parked close to the bach.
The bach's windows were covered from the inside with blankets and bedsheets that didn't belong to the bach.
The property manager heard a sound similar to that of a pressure cooker going off and smelt something.
She left the property and called police.
Mr Scott said police found 332 grams of meth and 1.2 litres in liquid form in two containers and in 11 bags with a total yield of nearly 1kg of meth.
The bach's kitchen, he said, was used as a clandestine lab.
Lawyers for Gibbons-Hurinui and Watene-Toi and Hall told the jury their clients were not involved with manufacturing meth or possessing equipment used in cooking the drug.
McIntyre chose not to make an opening statement to the jury.
The trial continues before Judge Keith de Ridder.