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Rimutaka Prison Guard Helped Methamphetamine Ring

Friday, 11 May 2012

methamphetamine dealing ring used an unidentified prison officer at Rimutaka Prison to deliver drugs to inmates, according to phone conversations taped by police. The ring of six people pleaded guilty to multiple charges and was sentenced by Justice Ron Young in the Napier High Court yesterday. Auckland Hell's Angels member Kishor Singh was sentenced to eight years and eleven months prison. William Paul was sentenced to eight years and four months, Manu Ngaronoa, known as the ''Queen of Crack'' was sentenced to seven years and two months, Michael Barber was sentenced to five years and seven months, Robert Rewita was sentenced to five years and Tracey Benson was sentenced to two years and one month. According to the Crown's summary of facts Benson, 43, was recorded in a telephone conversation in November 2010 telling Ngaronoa that she was going to Wellington to deliver ''Christmas presents'' (meaning cannabis, cannabis oil and methamphetamine) to her partner Lance Ratima, an inmate at Rimutaka. The summary said: ''She explained that she was able to deliver the drugs into the prison because she had a ''good screw'' (meaning prison officer) whom she had to pay $500. She said that the drugs and payment to the prison officer cost her about $2500''. Benson called Ratima the next day to say she would be delivering the ''clothes'' the following day. On the morning of November 21 the pair discussed collecting a delivery for another inmate and going ''halves in the paper'' (meaning the payment for the prison officer). They spoke later in the day to confirm someone else had ''given her a hand with the paperwork'' (meaning the payment to the prison officer) and discussed the clothes being really smelly and needing to be hung outside (meaning smoked outside). On November 25, Ratima told Benson he had received a delivery of ''two green tops'' (meaning two ounces of cannabis), the ''hats'', meaning caps of cannabis oil) and the ''white one'' (meaning methamphetamine) and that ''the old man got all [his] paperwork'' (meaning the prison officer received his payment). Corrections general manager prison services Jeanette Burns said the department was aware police may have been investigating the matter. ''We worked closely with them on this aspect of their case. However, no Corrections staff member has been identified or charged in relation to the case. The Department does not tolerate corrupt or illegal behaviour and demands a high standard from all of its employees. We expect all staff to role model positive, law-abiding behaviour,'' Burns said. Ad Feedback The ring was investigated by Napier police between July and December 2010 with search warrants on cell phones and landlines. Audio devices were also set up at the address of Ngaronoa, 49, known as ''the Queen of Crack''. The summary stated that Singh, 41, a patched Hell's Angels member since 2008, would source methamphetamine and cannabis from Hell's Angels contacts in Auckland for distribution to Hawke's Bay. He would deliver regular quantities of methamphetamine to Paul, 42, who would then supply it to his sister Ngaronoa. Ngaronoa and her partner Rewita, 41, then supplied to other dealers including Barber, 31, for onsale. Ngaronoa was the principal distributor of the methamphetamine and was responsible for maintaining the records, collecting debts and storing cash. In a phone conversation on November 28 Paul told Ngaronoa and Rewita that ''we made more than $800,000 this year''. The comment was made in response to a newspaper article reporting an unrelated $800,000 operation.

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A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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