Confidential intelligence was leaked by a police prosecutor
to people accused of running the country's largest ecstasy
ring, a court has been told.
Timothy John Russell Sarah pleaded guilty to five charges in
the High Court at Auckland this morning, including supplying
the class A drug and dishonestly accessing the police
intelligence computer system.
The non-sworn police staff member was among the 22 people
arrested as part of Operation Ark, a 12-month investigation
targeting the manufacture and supply of class B drugs MDMA,
or ecstasy, and class C drugs such as 4-MEC, better known as
A lawyer by profession, Sarah, 36, was a police prosecutor in
the Auckland District Court and played rugby for the New
Zealand police team.
He had faced 20 charges including the possession and supply
of methamphetamine and ecstasy, participating in an organised
criminal group and passing information from the police
computer system to three co-accused.
However, this morning in the High Court , the Crown filed a
fresh indictment with five charges, including two
Sarah's lawyer Ron Mansfield told the court that he was
pleased to announce a resolution in the case and described
his client's offending as "low-level street dealing"
But Justice Timothy Brewer said there was a "twist" in the
"I think there is a bigger problem for your client. As a
non-sworn police employee he accessed the police intelligence
system for his own criminal purpose."
Mr Mansfield said the information was not passed on to others
for any money.
Sarah was remanded on bail for sentencing in May.
Others caught up in the police operation include Brendan
Nguyen, 32, Allen Bryan Cho, 37, and a company director, 36,
who has name suppression.
Nguyen faces 28 charges including supplying c ass-B and
selling class C drugs, perverting the course of justice and
conspiring to supply methamphetamine with Cho and Sarah.
Cho faces charges of laundering $317,000 and supplying class
C drugs, ecstasy, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Another was Darren Ian Hodgetts, 34, an Auckland traffic
officer who has previously worked for the Fire Service, St
John ambulance and Surf Lifesaving New Zealand.
He pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court in January
to accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose, and
was sentenced to four months' community detention.
Others caught up in the raids include Shalendra Singh, 32,
who faces 27 charges including supplying methamphetamine and
laundering more than $100,000 through a bank account
connected to Allen Cho.
While Sarah and Hodgetts decided against trying to keep name
suppression, seven Operation Ark co-accused have been given
Auckland metro drug squad head Detective Inspector Bruce Good
has previously said the syndicate was believed to be
responsible for most ecstasy manufacture and supply in this
country, selling thousands of tablets a week.
The ring has also been linked to tablets at Fairfield College
in Hamilton, where six students were taken to hospital last
month after swallowing what they thought were lollies.