Tribesmen admit meth dealing charges

Three members of the Tribesman Outlaw Motorcycle Gang have admitted  being part of a Christchurch methamphetamine dealing ring turning over hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Andrew Michael Smith, 33, pleaded guilty to seven charges, Mark Powhiro, 33, pleaded guilty to four charges, and Paul Wayne Howard, 39, pleaded guilty to 11 charges in the Christchurch District Court.

The three men were remanded in custody for sentencing on June 19, and Smith and Powhiro asked to attend  restorative justice meetings if they were consented to by their victims.

The Crown summary of facts said Powhiro and Howard worked for Smith when the police were making their investigations, and all three were associated with the Tribesman Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

On 2 October, 2017, the police started intercepting the private communications of Smith, and found he was  heavily involved in the sale and distribution of the Class A controlled drug, methamphetamine.

Between 2 October, 2017, and 27 November, 2017, he was regularly supplying meth to a number of people, arranged through cell phone calls and text messaging prior to being followed up with a meeting.

The customer would visit Smith or meet him elsewhere, and sometimes Smith would use his associates to go to the meeting.

Many of his customers would then on-sell the meth at a higher price making a profit for themselves, and he would extend credit to his customers so they could pay him after they had sold the drug and received their money.

Sometimes he would have considerable amounts of money owed to him, at times totalling over $372,000, the summary said.

He pleaded guilty to two representative charges of supplying methamphetamine, conspiring to possess methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, attempting to pervert justice by destroying evidence, false representation of a New Zealand passport, and a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent to injure after a prison yard fight.

He was read the first of the three strike warnings for repeat violent offenders for the fighting charge.

Powhiro pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine for supply, supplying methamphetamine, kidnapping,  and unlawful possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

Howard pleaded guilty to offering to supply meth, two charges of possession of meth for supply, possess meth, possession of two knives, three charges of failing to assist police, possession of a scoop and point bags, offering to supply meth, and possession of a pipe.

Smith’s mother, Connie Elizabeth Ross, 52, has pleaded not guilty to her charges and the case is heading for a trial. She faces methamphetamine charges, perverting the course of justice, and possession of a sawn-off shotgun.

Another man arrested in the same police raids, 34-year-old  Joshua Rangi Fahey pleaded guilty to supplying meth and was jailed for two years two months in February. At that sentencing, Judge Neave said the dealing had been more of a fraud than a drug deal because the meth was of such poor quality.