Ute, cash, watch, diamond ring seized from gang member living on benefit

A gang member supposedly living on a benefit looks set to lose $45,000 cash, a ute, a high-end watch and a $12,500 men’s diamond ring that police say he gained from drug dealing.

The assets were seized from Dylan Rudd Stuart, a patched member of the Tribesmen Motor Cycle Club, between March 2022 and November last year.

Stuart was one of 11 Tribesmen who admitted participating in a bloody gang brawl with Mongrel Mob members at Christchurch’s Justice Precinct in July 2020.

He has previously served jail time for dealing in methamphetamine and firearms offending.

Stuart’s assets were taken from him during four interactions with police over the last two years.

In March 2022, police pulled over a Volkswagen Touareg containing Stuart and two other men.

They found in the car, and seized, $15,785 in cash and a men’s gold and diamond ring worth about $12,500.

Some of the money was paid to settle a debt to Inland Revenue and the remaining $11,033 was placed in a police trust account.

In July 2022, $32,425 was found in a 2011 Ford Ranger ute registered to and being driven by Stuart. That money was also seized.

In September 2023, police took the Ford Ranger as well.

In November 2023, police searched Stuart’s home and took away $590 cash and an SS Tag Aquaracer automatic watch. Such watches typically retail for between $3000 and $5000.

The property seized from Stuart has an estimated total value of over $73,000.

At the time of the seizures, Stuart was declaring “limited income” to Inland Revenue, from Ministry of Social Development benefits, according to police who sought restraining orders from the High Court over all of the seized property.

However, they said “significant funds from unknown sources” were being transferred through the bank accounts of Stuart and a co-respondent in the High Court action, April Louise Snell.

Police told the High Court that Stuart had unlawfully benefited from “significant criminal activity of selling controlled drugs” carried out under the Tribesmen gang’s “umbrella”.

Justice Rachel Dunningham granted the restraining orders.

“Financial inquiries have been made since the cash was seized which indicate Mr Stuart and Ms Snell have received large volumes of unexplained funds consistent with those funds being laundered,” Justice Dunningham’s judgment said.

The restraining orders were granted under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (CPRA), which is aimed to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains.

“I am satisfied there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondents have unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity as defined in the CPRA and it is appropriate to make the orders sought,” Justice Dunningham said.

The restrained property can later be forfeited to the Crown under a further High Court order.

Police also asked to be allowed to sell the Ford Ranger ute, wanting to realise its current value of between $13,600 and $16,650 before it depreciates in the time it takes to seek a forfeiture order.

Justice Dunningham issued an order allowing the vehicle’s sale.

By Ric Stevens
Multimedia Journalist