HAMILTON: A 22-year-old Hamilton man has been sentenced to two years and seven months’ imprisonment for importing and possessing drugs. This is Customs’ eighth conviction under Operation Ruckus, which dismantled a drug syndicate importing methamphetamine precursors.
Hayden Bacon was convicted on four charges including possessing pseudoephedrine (Contac NT), importing a psychoactive substance, and importing and supplying ecstasy (MDMA).
Operation Ruckus began after Customs intercepted eight packages of the methamphetamine precursor, Contac NT, between July and October 2013, which were couriered to addresses in Auckland and Hamilton.
Most packages were hidden inside laptop bags, while one was concealed in a builder’s spirit level, and another inside lint rollers. The total 11.4 kilogram Contac NT could have yielded up to 3.4 kilograms of methamphetamine, worth up to $3.4 million.
Following investigations, six men between the ages of 22 to 38 years were arrested in Hamilton and Auckland, including Bacon. Benjamin McMullen and Patrick Sinclair were sentenced to home detention for their roles as catchers, while two organisers were each jailed for over two years. Michael Synnott was imprisoned for 3 years and 3 months for a similar role.
Further enquiries led to the arrest of two more offenders that were at a higher level in the syndicate. They were sentenced in the North Shore District Court last week (10 December) to 6 and 7 years imprisonment.
Customs Manager Investigations, Maurice O’Brien, says disrupting the supply chain of methamphetamine and its precursors is Customs’ number one drug priority.
“Operation Ruckus was a great success. We’ve nabbed an entire network that was importing drugs.”
Criminal syndicates recruit catchers by enticing them with cash in exchange for picking or receiving drug imports. Report suspicions to Customs on 0800 4 CUSTOMS (0800 428 786) or Crime stoppers.