A woman convicted of running a drug-dealing operation has lost her two homes, car and cash as a result of a police forfeiture order.
Sharon Marie Mihaka used her Tokoroa leather shop, Sharon's Fine Leathers in Swanston St, as a front for a large-scale drug dealing operation run by an organised criminal gang.
She was convicted and sentenced to four and a half years in prison on eight charges of possession and supply of methamphetamine following Operation Harvest, which targeted P dealing in 2011.
Her husband, Lionel Jeffrey Mihaka, and daughter, Leah Marie Green (also known as Leah Marie Ramanui), were also convicted for selling and supplying methamphetamine.
In June this year, the Commissioner of Police applied in the High Court at Rotorua for a profit forfeiture order for $141,720 as well as control of assets owned by the trio, including two homes, and cash police found during the drug operation. They also applied for forfeiture of a car owned by Sharon Mihaka.
Justice Christian Whata issued his judgment at the end of June and it has just been released publicly.
He has ordered the forfeiture of the trio's properties and assets under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009.
They include land and buildings at 6 John St, Tokoroa, land and buildings at 5050 State Highway 1, Kinleith, near Tokoroa, a 2003 Nissan Liberty car and three cash amounts seized by police during the drug operation of $23,680, $1000 and $1627.10.
Inland Revenue Department records produced at the hearing showed the trio were not making large amounts of money.
Sharon Mihaka's average declared income was just over $8600 between 2005 and 2011. Lionel Mihaka's average declared income between 2005 and 2010 was just over $3800 a year and Ramanui's primary source of income was welfare benefits with an average declared income of $11,350 a year.
Sharon Mihaka, through her lawyer Peter Birks, argued the forfeiture would cause undue hardship, which Justice Whata rejected in his judgment.
Birks argued the John St property was legitimately bought with proceeds from the sale of another property and there was no suggestion Sharon Mihaka was living the high life. Since being released from prison she has been unemployed.
He also said since being released from jail she found her John St property in a dire state which she was trying to repair. Her fine leather business assets had been stolen so she had been unable to re-establish herself.
He argued her age - 60 - was a factor because she was approaching retirement and was unable to rebuild her assets.
But Justice Whata agreed with counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Chris Macklin, that methamphetamine dealing was very serious offending and the clear policy of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 was to discourage repeat offending by seizing property, whether or not it was legitimately obtained.
He therefore ordered the value of the methamphetamine seized be recovered, which was $141,720, as well as the two properties, car and cash.
What the drug dealers lost
• $141,720 (value of methamphetamine found)
• 6 John St, Tokoroa
• 5050 State Highway 1, Kinleith
• 2003 Nissan Liberty
• Three cash sums totalling $26,307