Major NZ drug king jailed...
An Auckland man at the centre of an international drug ring which brought millions of dollars worth of drugs into New Zealand has been sentenced to 11-1/2 years' imprisonment.
Ronald Terrence Brown, 65, earlier admitted eight charges related to the importation and supply of ecstasy, methamphetamine and LSD, and also charges of using a false passport and laundering more than $4 million over three years.
Brown organised for the class A and B drugs to be smuggled into New Zealand from Europe in granite statues, and co-ordinated with alleged drug world kingpins Rokas Karpavicius who is believed to be at large in Lithuania, and Silvio Blazevich, believed to be in either Serbia or Slovakia.
Brown's fingerprints were also found on a Harry Potter book couriered in from Spain which had LSD hidden in the spine.
Brown was on unemployment and sickness benefits for about 20 years, yet part-owned a bar on Auckland's Karangahape Rd and owned six vehicles - including a Porsche and BMWs - valued at $440,000.
In the High Court at Auckland this morning, Justice Mark Woolford said if Brown was not right at the top of the syndicate hierarchy, he was very close to it.
He had some 50 previous convictions, including conspiracy to supply heroin, for which he was previously sentenced to seven years in jail, rape, theft, and numerous assault and drug-related convictions.
Justice Woolford sentenced Brown to 11-1/2 years' imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of five years.
A three-week trial of Brown's co-accused Zvonko Dzomba, 49, Blair Aaron Bidois, 39, and Kellie Sheree Simanu, 33, ended in November.
The jury found all three not guilty, by majority verdicts 11-1, of conspiracy to import a class A drug. Simanu and Anna Keziah Sauer, 31, were found guilty of money-laundering charges.
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