A Tokoroa leather shop has been
revealed as a front for a large-scale drug-dealing operation
run by an "organised criminal group".
Four women and one man were set to go on trial in the High
Court at Rotorua yesterday on a range of methamphetamine (P)
and organised crime charges. Instead, they all pleaded
Sharon Marie Mihaka, 57, admitted three charges of supplying
methamphetamine, two of possession of methamphetamine for
supply and one of offering to supply the drug. The offending
took place between July and December 2011.
According to the prosecution's summary of facts, for years
police had suspected Mihaka of selling drugs from her
business Sharon's Fine Leathers in Swanston St.
In November 2011 they monitored telephone and text data for
40 days as part of Operation Harvest. Mihaka and several
others were charged as a result.
According to the summary, Mihaka was getting methamphetamine
from different sources, breaking it down and selling it from
Mihaka's 38-year-old daughter Leah Marie Green pleaded guilty
to one count of supplying methamphetamine and one of
participating in an organised criminal gang with the
objective of obtaining benefit from supplying the drug. She
worked full-time in her mother's business, running its
legitimate side but also helping Mihaka sell drugs. Green,
who is heavily pregnant, will be sentenced in the new year.
Dennise Amo Waddell, 37, a part-time employee at Sharon's
Fine Leathers, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of
methamphetamine for supply.
The prosecution said Waddell's home was used to store drugs
and proceeds from the sales, which had helped Mihaka evade
Waddell and Mihaka disputed parts of their summaries
therefore disputed facts hearings will be held before a
sentencing date can be fixed.
Mihaka's husband, Lionel Mihaka, 47, pleaded guilty to one
count of possession of methamphetamine for supply.
The summary stated Sharon Mihaka did not trust her husband
with the drugs, as she was "concerned he would smoke her
Justice Patrick Keane yesterday sentenced Lionel Mihaka to 12
months' prison, as a sentence indication had been given
previously. A fifth accused, 53-year-old Lily Riria Clark,
pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing methamphetamine
for supply. She had contacted Sharon Mihaka from Christchurch
on two occasions to buy methamphetamine, travelling to
Tokoroa to pick it up. A sentencing date for Clark has not
- By Katie Holland of
the Rotorua Daily Post