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Drug kingpin imported at least 8kg of meth into NZ, had 14,000 ecstasy pills in storage unit


Sami Zagros in the High Court in 2020.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

Sami Zagros within the Excessive Court docket in 2020.

A person accused of being on the centre of a drug smuggling operation has admitted importing methamphetamine in New Zealand after initially defending the fees at trial.

Sami Zagros pleaded responsible to 6 counts of importing methamphetamine and one rely of possession of MDMA for provide within the Excessive Court docket in Christchurch on Friday.

An additional two expenses towards him have been dismissed.

Zagros went on trial on 9 expenses in March the place he pleaded not responsible to the fees.

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After two days of testimony from Crown witnesses had been heard, the trial was delayed on day three when Zagros’ trial attorneys, Pip Corridor QC and Ethan Huda, requested the courtroom for depart to withdraw as his counsel.

When Zagros appeared in courtroom through video-link on Friday, his new lawyer Anselm Williams indicated he’d be coming into pleas.

Between Might and September 2018, customs investigators recognized Zagros, Preston Lewis Radford and Cherie Ann Akehurst as being concerned within the importation and distribution of methamphetamine, and the distribution of MDMA, often known as ecstasy.

Cherie Anne Akehurst was sentenced to 11 months’ home detention in 2020 for her role in a drug syndicate.

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff

Cherie Anne Akehurst was sentenced to 11 months’ dwelling detention in 2020 for her position in a drug syndicate.

Based on the abstract of details, investigators established the modus operandi of the syndicate as importing methamphetamine into New Zealand in packages that have been then declared as containing one thing else, similar to clothes or digital gear.

The packages have been addressed to vacant properties, houses occupied by syndicate members, or neighbouring properties, and the names on the containers have been fictitious. They largely got here from Mexico and the USA.

Most of the packages that have been imported into New Zealand weren’t intercepted and the amount of methamphetamine they contained was not identified.

Based mostly on investigators’ estimations, Zagros admitted importing or trying to import about 8kg of methamphetamine.

Messaging on Zagros’ digital gadgets confirmed he was immediately concerned in arranging for the importation of the medicine, together with packaging it in such a approach that it gained’t be detected by authorities. The Crown stated Zagros paid Radford a small quantity for his help “disproportionate to the amount of medication and degree of threat concerned”.

When Zagros’ dwelling was searched, authorities discovered 5 imitation firearms together with in his workplace protected, one in his headboard and one beneath his mattress.

Zagros had additionally used a jamming system at his dwelling in an try to stop his calls being bugged by investigators.

Sami Zagros during a court appearance in 2020.

CHRIS SKELTON/Stuff

Sami Zagros throughout a courtroom look in 2020.

Authorities positioned over $169,000 in money in a protected.

At a storage unit linked to Zagros, customs officers discovered about 13,900 MDMA tablets. These tablets matched different MDMA tablets discovered at his dwelling.

Zagros laundered the cash he obtained from the drug importations into Bitcoin.

In August 2018, Zagros paid somebody $100,000 to spend money on Bitcoin, however inside 10 days the funding had misplaced about $35,000. Zagros demanded that the person who invested the cash pay again the $35,000 he misplaced and threatened that he had “knee-capped” somebody earlier than for simply over $5000.

The person felt scared and took out a mortgage to repay Zagros.

Zagros was remanded in custody to be sentenced on July 6.



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