Gang member ‘did not consider in banks’ claims $56k money his, however Excessive Court docket says in any other case

Wads of cash totalling $56,370 found in a gang member’s vehicle will be kept by the Crown after a High Court ruling found they were drug money.


Wads of money totalling $56,370 present in a gang member’s automobile will probably be saved by the Crown after a Excessive Court docket ruling discovered they have been drug cash.

A gang member stopped throughout lockdown with a baseball bat and $56,370 in his automobile stated he didn’t consider in banks; the money was to purchase a ship and the bat was to “play ball” along with his nephew.

However the Excessive Court docket dominated it was “tainted property” possible obtained via meth dealing.

Steven James Wooden​, 41, was driving a automobile registered to his mom with two passengers between Richmond and Motueka final April, whereas the nation was in alert degree 3 on account of Covid-19.

Police stopped the automobile and located numerous cell telephones, a baseball bat and a Tribesmen gang patch on the entrance seat. In a bag within the boot, they discovered 12 bundles of money totalling $56,370.

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Final December, the police commissioner made an software that the money be forfeited and after a listening to within the Excessive Court docket in Christchurch final month, which Wooden didn’t attend, Justice Gerald Nation​ stated he was happy the money had been acquired from “significant criminal activity”, specifically the availability of meth.

When questioned by police on the time, Wooden stated the baseball bat discovered behind the driving force’s seat was his so he may take along with his nephew to the park to play ball and the money was for getting a ship. He refused to reply any additional questions.

Cellphones seized from the vehicle showed evidence of drug dealing. (File photo)


Cellphones seized from the automobile confirmed proof of drug dealing. (File photograph)

A number of days later he contacted police concerning the return of the money and stated he “did not believe in banks” and saved all his cash in his automobile.

Police then obtained data displaying how Wooden had used numerous financial institution accounts, some for day-to-day banking.

He was given a chance to elucidate how he got here to own the money, however failed to indicate as much as the Christchurch Central Police Station on a lot of events and refused to reply questions when he did seem.

The cellphones discovered within the automobile have been analysed, displaying the three occupants have been associates who had preparations to satisfy.

One of many automobile’s occupants, Karen Chappell, was on bail on the time, dealing with a lot of medicine fees for the sale and provide of meth together with the possession of meth, LSD and ecstasy.

Justice Gerald Nation​ ruled the cash was “tainted property” having been acquired from criminal activity, the supply of meth.

Alden Williams/Stuff

Justice Gerald Nation​ dominated the money was “tainted property” having been acquired from legal exercise, the availability of meth.

She later pleaded responsible to these fees and additional fees of supplying meth and possessing class B drug butanediol, after messages have been extracted from a cellphone she had been utilizing that was seized from the automobile.

There have been additionally messages from different folks, trying to acquire meth by the ounce, which Chappell replied she believed can be between $10,000 and $12,000.

Additional messages confirmed Chappell providing to provide meth for $750 a gram.

Justice Nation stated he was happy that the money discovered within the automobile, which Wooden claimed was his, “could not have been legitimately derived from income and benefits”.

An order was made that the $56,370 money discovered within the automobile be vested with the Crown.