Some of the 8kg of cannabis worth an estimated $98,000
seized by Dunedin police during a four-month investigation.
Almost 8kg of dried cannabis, worth up to $98,000, may
count as evidence against 10 people arrested yesterday in
relation to a Dunedin-led police investigation.
The four-month operation focused on Dunedin members of the
Mongrel Mob Notorious gang and involved the execution of 15
search warrants in Dunedin, Ashburton, Wellington and the
West Coast town of Blackball.
Five of the men arrested are from Dunedin, four are from the
West Coast and another is from West Otago.
At least 24 charges will be laid against the six people
arrested in Dunedin, all male Mongrel Mob members.
Korrey Teeati Cook (36) was the only one to appear in the
Dunedin District Court yesterday.
He was remanded in custody by consent to May 22 on joint
charges of dishonestly converting $20,000 of trust money,
conspiring to pervert the course of justice by interfering
with Crown witnesses and, with several others, possessing and
conspiring to sell or supply cannabis.
The five others were granted registrar's adjournments and
bailed to May 22.
Jason Renata Kapa (42), Shane Edward Oxley (34), tattooist,
and Wally Douglas Te Whaiti (39), chef, are jointly charged
with Cook with dishonest conversion of trust money.
Kapa and Te Whaiti are also jointly charged with Cook and
Mason James Purvis (19), painter, with possessing and
conspiring to sell cannabis.
Paora Kake Phillips (29) forest worker, of Tapanui, was
jointly charged with Cook in relation to allegedly
interfering with Crown witnesses.
A seventh man, named as an alleged co-offender, has yet to be
Southern district crime services manager Detective Inspector
Steve McGregor said others arrested in the investigation
would face at least six charges and appear in court in
Greymouth. Police were still trying to find another person,
and further charges were possible.
Charges of criminally breaching trust related to the alleged
misuse of $20,000 from a charitable trust linked to
Det Insp McGregor would not disclose further information
about the alleged offending as it forms evidence before the
He said by targeting key individuals in the Mongrel Mob
Notorious gang's hierarchy, police hoped to reduce its
ability to keep offending.
A previous operation resulted in jail terms for some of
Dunedin's Mongrel Mob Aotearoa members.
Police would continue to target locally-based criminal groups
and individuals dealing in drugs, as well as share
information nationally to help those targeting gangs in other
areas, Det Insp McGregor said.
"We believe there will be a significant impact initially as a
result of this operation, but that does not mean we believe
the problem has been eliminated. It remains a focus," he
Dunedin police were determining whether such a large amount
of cannabis had ever been seized locally in a single
A small sample of the drug was laboratory-tested but the
remainder was destroyed, Det Insp McGregor said.
The investigation comprised about 20 core staff members and
up to 30 officers were involved in executing search warrants
around Dunedin yesterday.
"This investigation has been about coming down hard and
targeting the criminal element in our communities," Det Insp
It followed a similar operation targeting the supply of
illegal drugs into Queenstown, which resulted in the arrest
of five people and discovery of a clandestine methamphetamine
laboratory in Auckland.
More than 500 cannabis plants in Southland and Otago have
been found by police in the 2011-12 growing season.