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Auckland celebrity cocaine sting: Hairdresser tells of 'rumours'

  1. aemetha
    A hairdresser facing charges in connection with an alleged celebrity cocaine sting in Auckland says the charges are just "rumours" - but his lawyer has confirmed his client will be in court.

    The hairdresser, a fashion designer - who both have name suppression - and a senior Hells Angel gang member were the three original targets in Operation Ceviche which led to the seizure of 760g of cocaine, worth $300,000, and $81,000 cash in late August. Police allege each of the trio were running their own "mini drug supply networks" and among the 13 other people arrested were a male model, a plumber, a clothing distributor and a film production assistant.

    Among the alleged cocaine clientele is a stockbroker, a senior music executive, the boss of a large company, a recruitment agency owner, the husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer. They are named in court documents but have not been charged. Some also had their hair cut at his salon.

    The hairdresser faces 17 Class-A drug charges including possession of cocaine and methamphetamine for supply. But he denied he had been arrested and said the charges were just "rumours". "I don't know anything about any cocaine charges; it's not me." However, defence lawyer Guyon Foley confirmed his client would be appearing in the Auckland District Court next month.

    The alleged operation was uncovered after police monitored the phone calls and movements of a Nomad gang sergeant-at-arms which led investigators to two others allegedly running their own "mini drug supply networks" - the hairdresser and a fashion designer. The covert investigation by the National Organised Crime Group initially focused on Anthony "Ants" Nansen, a senior patched member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.

    The 33-year-old is the sergeant-at-arms for the gang's Nomads chapter and a champion kickboxer. He was labelled "dangerous" by the police who warned the public to not approach Nansen when detectives appealed for sightings of him in June. Nansen has since been arrested and charged with supplying methamphetamine and possessing the Class-A drug for supply. He has been denied bail and an appeal to the High Court was dismissed this week. Police were monitoring Nansen's phone calls and movements, which led Operation Ceviche to two others allegedly running their own "mini drug supply networks" - the hairdresser and the fashion designer.

    The three phases of the investigation, which lasted several months, ended with police raids in late August and a single seizure of 750g of cocaine and $81,000 cash. In a press release at the time, Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the cocaine
    was a significant find. "It's unusual to achieve such a big domestic seizure," said Schmid. "Cocaine is usually picked up in much smaller amounts, so [the] find is indicative of people who have been heavily involved in persistent, premeditated, career drug dealing."

    In total, the police seized almost 760g of cocaine with a street value of more than $300,000. "These offenders were creating some fairly identifiable cocaine. The drug was being mixed with another substance and moulded into ounce-sized bricks with a hand-made wooden press," said Schmid. "These people who've been living beyond their means by selling drugs to others, and despite some attempts to conceal their offending, they've now been fully exposed".

    Earlier this year, police pulled off the biggest cocaine bust in New Zealand history.
    The 35 1kg bricks of high-grade cocaine - worth $14m - were flown into Auckland from Mexico in May, hidden inside a diamante-encrusted statue of a horse's head. Two men bound for Hawaii were arrested at the Auckland International Airport and now face serious charges of importing a Class-A drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

    26 September 2016
    The New Zealand Herald
    Photo: Getty Images
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=11716740

Comments

  1. aemetha
    Cocaine sting: High-flyers ducking for cover

    [IMGL="white"]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=52496&stc=1&d=1474897660[/IMGL]Police say there was no 'special treatment' for those named as drug buyers in court documents but not charged

    Some rich and powerful Aucklanders are ducking for cover and seeking legal advice, worried they are linked to an alleged celebrity cocaine drug ring. The Herald on Sunday revealed the high-flying clientele of an Auckland hair stylist were caught up in a police sting on an alleged drug network selling cocaine and methamphetamine.

    The hairdresser, a fashion designer - who both have name suppression - and a senior Hells Angel gang member were the three original targets of Operation Ceviche, which led to the seizure of $300,000 worth of cocaine and $81,000 cash in August. Since then, the Herald has been fielding calls from defence lawyers, PR agents, fashion stylists and media personalities concerned their clients are involved.

    Among the alleged cocaine clientele are a stockbroker, a music executive, the boss of a large company, a financial consultant, the husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer. They were named in court documents as buying cocaine or methamphetamine but have not been charged.

    One of those, a multi-millionaire, successfully sought name suppression and his Queen's Counsel called to ensure the Herald knew about the court order. Another defence lawyer rang because they had a client who thought they might have been named in the documents. One of those named in the court documents, a senior music executive, denied any knowledge of knowing the hairdresser or buying cocaine from him. The boss of a financial services company said the hairdresser was a "mate. End of story."

    Despite not laying charges against the alleged drug-buyers, a police spokeswoman said there was no "special treatment" meted out. "This case is currently before the court and we are therefore limited as to discussion around the evidence we have obtained. "What we can say though is that there has been 'no special treatment' here, in fact it is not uncommon for police to speak with and offer assistance to end [drug] users, rather than prosecuting them." Every drug case that police deal with is different and is assessed according to its circumstances and available evidence, the spokeswoman said. She pointed to a recent police operation into organized methamphetamine distribution resulted in officers reaching out to about 140 people who had been identified as customers. "These people were sent a mass text and those who responded positively were given leaflets on drug harm and how to get help." The spokeswoman said Operation Ceviche was an ongoing investigation and police would contact anyone identified as a drug consumer.

    The covert investigation by the National Organised Crime Group initially focused on Anthony "Ants" Nansen, a senior patched member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. The 33-year-old is the sergeant-at-arms for the gang's Nomads chapter and a champion kickboxer. He was labelled "dangerous" by the police who warned the public to not approach Nansen when detectives appealed for sightings of him in June. Nansen has since been arrested and charged with supplying methamphetamine and possessing the Class-A drug for supply. He has been denied bail and an appeal to the High Court was dismissed last week.

    Police were monitoring Nansen's phone calls and movements, which led Operation Ceviche to two others allegedly running their own "mini drug supply networks" - the hairdresser and the fashion designer. The three phases of the investigation, which lasted several months, ended with police raids in late August and a single seizure of 750g of cocaine and $81,000 cash.

    In a press release at the time, Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the cocaine was a significant find. "It's unusual to achieve such a big domestic seizure," said Schmid. "Cocaine is usually picked up in much smaller amounts, so [the] find is indicative of people who have been heavily involved in persistent, premeditated, career drug dealing." In total, the police seized almost 760g of cocaine with a street value of more than $300,000. "These offenders were creating some fairly identifiable cocaine. The drug was being mixed with another substance and moulded into ounce-sized bricks with a hand-made wooden press," said Schmid. "These people who've been living beyond their means by selling drugs to others, and despite some attempts to conceal their offending, they've now been fully exposed."

    26 September 2016
    Jared Savage, Carolyne Meng-Yee
    The New Zealand Herald
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=11717187
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