Record: jailed over $172 milion drug haul

    Source: The New Zealand Herald – More than 250kg of drugs was swapped with boxes of cornstarch inside an Auckland International Airport cargo zone controlled by Customs.

    Unfortunately for the businessman who owned Ezi World Cargo, which moves freight for the Pacific Islands, police officers were covertly watching the largest drug shipment into New Zealand ever discovered.

    Mosese Laumanu Uele was this week sentenced to 5 years and 5 months in prison after pleading guilty to one charge of importing pseudoephedrine into the country.

    His jail term was reduced because of his early admission, genuine remorse and previous good character.

    Justice Mark Woolford said the 48-year-old was not the “prime mover” but played an important role because of his business and licence to operate in a Customs Controlled Area.

    Mosese Laumanu Uele
    Mosese Laumanu Uele

    Intercepted phone calls show one of the main Operation Ghost targets, Da Wen Shao, was in frequent contact with the former staff member of Ezi World.

    Uele initially rebuffed approaches from his ex-employee to help smuggle drugs but Justice Woolford said the financial temptation, an offer of $60,000, became too great.

    She left a van unattended in a supermarket carpark last October, which Uele drove into Ezi World on George Bolt Memorial Drive.

    Later that night, police covertly took the van into a Customs compound nearby and tested the powder – and found genuine cornstarch – before resealing the boxes and returning to Ezi World.

    Sometime over the next three days, Uele swapped the cornstarch with boxes labelled “potato starch” but containing pseudoephedrine.

    He later left the van in an Onehunga carpark, where it was taken and the 250kg drug cache split at “safe houses” in Avondale and Blockhouse Bay.

    Justice Woolford accepted Uele’s involvement was a “one off” and “totally out of character”, which had previously included generous donations to the Tongan community.

    His lawyer John Kovacevich told the Herald that his client was a “very good man who got caught up with some bad people”.

    The total amount of pseudoephedrine seized in the October and December raids was nearly 600kg – enough to cook $172 million of P – including 260kg disguised as “bread crumbs” inside a shipping container at the Ports of Auckland.

    Homes, cars and cash worth more than $20 million were seized and restrained under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo tautea ‘i he fakamaau’anga lahi ‘a ‘Aokalani ‘a e matapule pisinisi ko Mosese Laumanu Uele ke ne ngaue popula ta’u ‘e nima mahina nima fekau’aki mo hano hu mai ‘o ha faito’o konatapu kuo taku ko e lahi taha ia ke hū mai ‘i he hisitōlia ‘o Nu’u Silá.
      Ko e lahi fakakātoa ʻo e faitoʻo konatapú ni ʻa ia naʻe puke hili ha ʻohofi ʻa e kau polisí ʻi ʻOkatopa mo Tīsema taʻu kuo ʻosí naʻe ofi ʻi he kilokalami ʻe 600 – feʻunga ʻeni ke haka mei ai ʻa e faitoʻo konatapu he kalasi ko e P ʻo maʻu ai ha paʻanga ʻe 172 miliona.

      Ko hono hu mai ki Nuʻu SIla ni ʻa e fatoʻo ni naʻe fakapuliki mai ia ʻi ha koniteina momomoʻi mā ne tūʻuta hake ki he Uafu ʻi ʻAokalaní.

      Naʻe toe puke foki ʻe he kau polisí ʻa e ngaahi kā mo e paʻanga kesi ne laka hake ʻi he $20 miliona lolotonga e ngaahi ʻohofi ne nau faí pea ʻoku nau kei tauhi ia.
      Ko e tautea kuo hilifakí ko e hili ia hano holoki e tautea ʻo Uelé koe’uhi pe ko ‘ene ‘uluaki vetehia, fakatomala mo’oni pea ko e tangata pe na’e angalelei.
      Na’e pehē ‘e Fakamaau Mark Woodford na’e ‘ikai ko Uele ‘a e tokotaha tefito ‘i he tila ni ka na’e kaunga ki aí tu’unga he’ene pisinisi mo ‘ene ma’u laiseni ke fakalele ‘ene pisinisi utakoloa ‘i he ‘elia ‘oku pule’i ‘e he Kasitomu ‘a Nu’u Sila ʻi he malaʻe vakapuna ʻAokalaní. Ko e pisinisi ʻeni naʻe ʻiloa ko e Ezi World Cargo Ltd.
      Na’e hanga ‘e he kau polisí ‘o fakahoko ha fakatotolo makehe ki he fo’i tila ko ‘ení ‘o ui ko e Operation Ghost. Lolotonga e lele ‘enau fakatotoló ne nau fakaongo e fetelefoni’aki ne fai ‘e kinautolu fekau’aki mo e me’a ni.
      ‘I he taha ‘o e ngaahi fetelefoni’akí na’e ma’u ai ‘a e toutou fetu’utaki ‘a e tokotaha ‘oku tukuaki’i ko e fo’i ‘ulu’ifeke ia ‘i he tila ko ‘eni ko Da Wen Shao, pea mo e tokotaha ne ngāue ki muʻa ʻi he Ezi World.
      Na’e ‘ikai tali ‘e Uele ‘a e ‘uluaki fakatōtō atu ʻa e taha ko ʻení ʻo kole ke tokoni ange muʻa ʻi hono fetuku fakafūfū mai ʻo e faitoʻo konatapú. Ka naʻe pehē ʻe Fakamaau Woolford naʻe to atu e fakatauele fakapaʻanga ne ʻofa angé ʻa ia ko e paʻanga ʻe Ono Mano ($60,000) ke tō ai ʻa Uele.
      Naʻe ʻalu ʻa e fefine ko ʻení ʻo tau ha veeni ʻi ha tauʻangakā ʻo ha supamāketi ʻi ʻOkatopta taʻu kuo ʻosí. Ne ʻi he veeni ko ʻení ha ngaahi puha ne faʻo ai ʻa e sitaasí. Ne tau atu leva ʻa Uele ʻo heka ai ʻo ʻave ki he Ezi World ʻi he George Bolt Memorial Drive.
      ʻI he pō pe ko iá naʻe hū atu e kau polisí ʻo ʻave fakapulipuli e vēní ki ha feituʻu ofi mai pe ʻo e Kasitomú ʻo ʻahiʻahiʻi ai ʻa e pautá ni – ne nau ʻilo ai ko e sitaasi koane moʻoni pe ia. Ne nau toe kofu fakalelei pe ʻa e ngaahi puhá ni ʻo fakafoki ki he Ezi World ʻikai ʻilo ki ai ha taha.
      Kae hili ha ʻaho ʻe tolu mei ai, ne hanga ʻe Uele ʻo fetongi ʻa e sitaasi ko ʻeni ʻaki ha ngaahi puha ne leipolo ai ʻa e lea ko e – potato starch, ka ko e kalasi ia ʻo e faitoʻo konatapú ʻoku ui ko e pseudoephedrine.
      Ki mui ai, naʻa ne uta leva ia ʻi he vēní ʻo tau ʻi ha tauʻanga kā ʻi Onehunga, ʻa ia naʻe toki ʻave ia mei ai ʻe ha taha kehe ʻo toki toʻo ʻa e faitoʻo konatapú ni ʻi ha ngaahi fale malu ʻi Avondale mo Blockhouse Bay.
      Naʻe pehē ʻe Fakamaau Woolford ne tuʻotaha pe kau ʻa Uele ʻi he meʻa ni pea ko hono moʻoní naʻe ʻikai ko ha meʻa ne ne faiangaʻaki pea ne ne tokonia ʻa e komiunitií.
      Naʻe fakahā ʻe heʻene loeá, John Kovacecich ki he Herald ko e tangata angalelei ʻaupito ʻene kalaiení ka kuo to he kakai kovi ʻe niʻihi.

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