'Charismatic' Comancheros boss jailed for 10 years

Pasilika Naufahu at his sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo: Jason Oxenham / NZH
Pasilika Naufahu at his sentencing today in the High Court at Auckland. Photo: Jason Oxenham / NZH
Comancheros boss Pasilika Naufahu has been jailed for 10 years.

Justice Graham Lang sentenced him today in the High Court at Auckland.

"You were the president of the Comancheros" and as such were in a position of influence, Justice Lang said to Naufahu.

The High Court judge detailed how Naufahu's family had moved to Australia when he was only one, and they struggled under financial hardship.

Bullied at school, Naufahu found the way to deal with this was violence, which won the approval of his father, he said.

It had been a previously been a strained relationship, the court heard.

This gold-plated motorcycle was among the assets seized in Operation Nova. Photo: Supplied
This gold-plated motorcycle was among the assets seized in Operation Nova. Photo: Supplied
Naufahu had found the "brotherhood" missing in his life in the form of the Comancheros.

He was "surprised" to be deported given his imprisonment in Australia had been in short stints.

Not surprisingly he had sought out the company of others in the same situation, he said.

There were "hints" in some of the reports that he was considering a change in lifestyle but the judge viewed the likelihood of that as remote.

"It would take considerable willpower on your part to break away from those contacts."

Late-model Range Rovers were among the assets seized in Operation Nova. Photo: Supplied
Late-model Range Rovers were among the assets seized in Operation Nova. Photo: Supplied
Crown prosecutor David Johnstone said the defence was trying to "unreasonably" minimise Naufahu's culpability as the leader of the criminal group.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said Naufahu had been deported from Australia as a 501, arriving here with no support network in place.

He had difficulty obtaining a bank account, accommodation and employment, he said.

But he had endeavoured to provide his wife and four children with the life he never had, he said.

"He is intelligent. He is capable. He is charismatic."

Connor Clausen during the first day of the Operation Nova trial at the High Court in Auckland....
Connor Clausen during the first day of the Operation Nova trial at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: Brett Phibbs
Mansfield said Naufahu is looked to as a leader and has never shied away from admitting he his role as president of the Comancheros.

Naufahu was arrested as a part of a covert police investigation called Operation Nova that targeted the Comanchero Motorcycle Club.

More than 80 police officers were involved in the raids, which led to about $4 million of assets being seized, including firearms and several luxury vehicles such as a Rolls-Royce Wraith and gold-plated Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

After a lengthy and high-profile jury trial last year, Naufahu was found guilty of two money-laundering charges - one in respect of a Ford Ranger and the other a $102,075 Bentley.

He was also found guilty, alongside patched Comanchero Connor Clausen, of conspiring to supply the Class B drug pseudoephedrine in September 2018.

Clausen has already been sentenced to three years and eight months' imprisonment.

Their shared trial had started with five defendants but that number dropped by two when several charges were withdrawn midway.

Ten days prior to that trial, Naufahu pleaded guilty to four charges of money laundering and one of participating in an organised crime group.

Others jailed by Operation Nova
Comancheros vice-president Tyson Daniels has already been sentenced to four years and eight months' imprisonment.

He had admitted participating in an organised criminal group and nine money laundering charges which came from purchasing a swag of expensive vehicles.

There were four Range Rovers - with price tags of $175,000, $255,000, $218,000 and $280,000 - a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz, a Lamborghini for $285,000, and two Rolls-Royces which cost $364,000 and $595,000.

Comanchero club secretary Jarome Fonua was jailed for four and half years.

Fonua had earlier pleaded guilty to participating in an organised criminal group, money laundering and possession of 5.9g of methamphetamine.

 

 

 

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