Driver in court over horse race fixing, drug charges

A successful driver caught up in Operation Inca — a major police probe into alleged race-fixing in the New Zealand harness racing industry - has made a brief appearance in court today charged with fixing a Nelson horse race in June.

The 26-year-old shed hand of Woodend Beach, 25km north of Christchurch, appeared on the race-fixing charge and four other drugs charges via audio visual link at Christchurch District Court this morning.

A community magistrate adjourned the case until 2.15pm today for the man to appear before a district court judge.

Charge sheets allege that he jointly offended with another driver to manipulate the overall result of Race 11 at the Nelson Harness Racing Club Incorporated meeting on June 8 this year "with the intention of influencing the betting outcome caused loss in excess of $1000 to other persons including other participants in the race of the betting public".

The man also faces four other charges of possessing Class B drugs for supply, and supplying Class B drugs.

The charges relate to methylenedioxymethamphetamine, known as MDMA, and allege he supplied it to others, including racing industry figures, between March 24 and August 20 this year.

Police further allege he was caught in possession of MDMA yesterday.

A total of seven people have been charged in relation to Operation Inca..

Four men — aged 34, 40, 41, and 44 — are due to appear at Christchurch District Court next Tuesday on match-fixing charges. A 41-year-old woman is due to appear the same day on two counts of supplying Class B drugs.

A 47-year-old man has been charged with deception by match-fixing and is due to appear in Palmerston North District Court, also on Tuesday September 12.

Police yesterday conducted nine search warrants in Christchurch, one in Invercargill and another in Manawatu.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation is urged to contact harness@police.govt.nz or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Further details are expected from police later today or tomorrow.

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