Three more people have been caught up in a major police probe into alleged race-fixing and drugs in the New Zealand harness racing industry.

The Canterbury-based trio appeared at Christchurch District Court yesterday on multiple drug-dealing allegations.

They appeared in the same court as promising young driver Matthew Anderson, a 26-year-old of Woodend Beach, 25km north of Christchurch, who faces a fraud-related charge.

Details of the charge are subject to an interim suppression order made yesterday by a judge.


He's also accused of supplying a Class-B controlled drug.

Anderson was granted bail with special conditions that he does not attend any race meetings, horse trials, or workouts.

He'll be back at Christchurch District Court next Tuesday when four men — aged 34, 40, 41, and 44 — are due to appear on match-fixing charges. A 41-year-old woman is due to appear the same day on two counts of supplying Class-B drugs and a 47-year-old man will appear in Palmerston North District Court charged with deception by match-fixing.

Police on Tuesday carried out nine search warrants on stables and properties in Christchurch, one in Invercargill and another in Manawatu.

Matthew Anderson leaves court after appearing on a fraud-related charge.
Matthew Anderson leaves court after appearing on a fraud-related charge.

Yesterday, a 30-year-old trainer appeared at Christchurch District Court on drug-dealing charges and unlawful possession of a restricted weapon. Judge Tony Couch refused an application for name suppression, but defence counsel Andrew McCormick immediately indicated he would appeal the decision to the High Court.

The man has interim name suppression until 4pm tomorrow to give his lawyer time to file an appeal. He was remanded on bail without plea to September 26.

A 49-year-old Christchurch man also facing drugs charges made no plea and was remanded on bail to September 26. He was granted interim suppression of name and occupation.

Elie Sawma, a 42-year-old from the Papanui area of Christchurch, has also been charged.


He faces seven allegations that between May 28 and July 20 this year, he supplied the Class-B controlled drug MDMA. He also faces a charge of possessing MDMA and on June 28, offering to supply the Class-A drug cocaine.

Sawma was remanded on bail by consent to October 4.

A total of 10 people have now been charged in relation to Operation Inca — a 17-month National Organised Crime Group investigation into alleged corruption in harness racing.

Yesterday's arrests were the result of a further six search warrants conducted in Christchurch yesterday morning, taking the total number of search warrants to 17.