New Zealand Police’s Waikato / Bay of Plenty Asset Recovery Unit has successfully forfeited a significant number of assets from the Taupo-based Midlands Rebels gang president, following his arrest and subsequent conviction as part of Operation Ulysses – an investigation conducted by the Rotorua Organised Crime Unit in 2019.
The Rotorua High Court has ordered the forfeiture of assets under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (CPRA) from James Duff, who was sentenced late last year to 15 years in jail for his lead role in a drug distribution ring.
He was convicted of 31 charges including the supply of methamphetamine, ecstasy, cannabis and LSD, unlawful possession of a firearm, perverting the course of justice and participation in an organised criminal group. An analysis of Duff’s financial affairs established he unlawfully benefited from his criminal activity to the value of $1,115,715.
The assets forfeited are:
- A 6.3 hectare lifestyle property in Wairakei, Taupo.
- 2007 Holden Commodore Clubsport
- 2013 Ford Ranger utility
- Continental Chevrolet Impala
- 2012 Harley Davidson Night Rod motorcycle
- 2007 Harley Davidson V-Rod motorcycle
- 2002 Harley Davidson V-Rod motorcycle
- 2001 Harley Davidson Softail motorcycle
- Yamaha Waverunner Supercharged jet ski and trailer
- More than $190,000 from bank accounts
- Three pieces of jewellery valued at nearly $35,000
The assets have a total value of $1,200,000. The money and sale of these items will be put into the Proceeds of Crime Fund, from which agencies can make application to fund crime prevention as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation initiatives.
The CPRA was enacted in 2009 so that New Zealand Police could pursue assets and hold people to account so they do not benefit from proceeds of crime, in this case the significant supply of drugs to our communities often causing irreparable harm to individuals and their families.
‘Organised crime is all about money, and Police are focused on targeting the proceeds of that crime. This proceeding is an excellent result and in particular for the Taupo and Bay of Plenty communities,’ said Detective Senior Sergeant Keith Kay, Waikato / Bay of Plenty Asset Recovery Unit.
‘The Asset Recovery Unit is focused on targeting any individuals who think that they will profit from crime and cause harm and destruction in our communities.
‘Police are seeking help from the community to identify illicit proceeds obtained from crime. If anyone has any information which would assist Police they are encouraged to report that information in confidence either to their local Police station or via Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111.’