A newly-formed Taranaki Rebels drug-dealing gang has
crashed and burned following an undercover police bust codenamed Operation
The failure of the new gang was revealed in a police court
summary after one of the members, among 17 men and women arrested in
September 2011, pleaded guilty in the High Court at New Plymouth this week
to drug dealing.
Jade Rodney James, 23, unemployed, pleaded guilty to four
He was convicted of participating in an organised criminal
group, conspiring to supply the class A controlled drug methamphetamine,
conspiring to supply ecstasy and conspiring to supply cannabis.
He was remanded to June 27 on electronic bail for
Others alleged to be further up the hierarchy of the
Taranaki gang have a trial set down in the High Court in New Plymouth early
Further associates have already been dealt with through
A lengthy electronic surveillance operation, which was
carried out over several months in 2011, targeted the newly-formed Taranaki
chapter of the Rebels gang and their associates.
The operation was set up following police intelligence
that the Australian-based gang, involved in the manufacture and distribution
of class A drug methamphetamine (P), was spreading throughout New Zealand.
Days after the arrests, the Taranaki Rebels chapter was to
hold a national Rebels New Zealand meeting at their clubrooms at the Barrett
St hospital complex.
Every Rebels member in New Zealand was to attend, the
However, the Taranaki arrests, most of which occurred
after police involved in the operation swooped on September 1, meant the
Taranaki Rebels were unable to perform their role as hosts as they were
"Police did, however, detect 14 patched Rebels from the
Lower North Is[land] and Canterbury entering Taranaki on 2 September 2011,"
the summary said.
"They left the province early on 3 September 2011."
In Australia, the Rebels is the largest outlaw motorcycle
gang, with 72 chapters.
Police now believe the Rebels have chapters across New
Zealand and have the potential to become this country's biggest gang.
Because methamphetamine was "a particularly addictive and
destructive drug", and was expensive to purchase, it was routinely
manufactured, supplied and distributed by gangs, the summary said.
Holding the rank of soldier and under the control of the
Taranaki sergeant at arms, James had the job of fetching and carrying for
gang members, including selling drugs, the summary said.
The surveillance operation discovered large amounts of
meth and class C ecstasy were sought by the accused from associates and
They were then to distribute the drugs to purchasers
throughout the New Plymouth area.
James was identified through recorded conversations, text
communication and surveillance.