20 Dec 2012

Gang members jailed for drug offences

8:34 am on 20 December 2012

Two Rebels gang members who were lead players in a central North Island methamphetamine operation have been jailed by the High Court in Wellington.

Craig Matthews, 38, had pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying methampetamine and two of manufacturing the drug. On Wednesday he was sentenced to 11 years eight months in prison.

Herre van Niekerken, 39, was jailed for nine years six months, having pleaded guilty to one charge of supplying methamphetamine and one of conspiracy to supply the drug.

As well as the jail term, van Niekerken forfeited to the Crown $1700 cash.

Matthews forfeited $241,434.80 in cash and 15 vehicles, including three Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Several luxury vehicles, including a Hummer, were also seized .

Two other men were sentenced for their involvement in the methamphetamine ring, one to a prison term and the other to community detention.

The drugs the men supplied were manufactured in the Waikato and distributed in Manawatu, Whanganui and Horowhenua.

The man who led the investigation, Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann, says the operation made a significant dent in the distribution of methamphetamine in the central North Island.

He says the drug's price has increased and the number of methamphetamine seizures has reduced.

Mr Bensemann says the sentences imposed on Wednesday send a clear message that people become involved in supplying methampetamine at their peril.