Operation Notus drug offenders: Man jailed for more than 9 years

A Bay of Plenty man has been jailed for more than nine years for drug dealing and money laundering offences totalling more than $400,000.

Jason Kirk Iopata, 46, from Motiti Island and his wife Anahera Marie Iopata, 39, from Kawerau, were sentenced in the Tauranga District Court on February 5 in relation to a joint charge of engaging in multiple money laundering transactions.

The money laundering involved more than $400,000 between January 2016 and November 2017.

Jason Iopata was also imprisoned in relation to a raft of drug dealing offences.

This included supplying just over 1.2kg of P, offering to sell cannabis in pound lots to other people, and possession of 3.6 grams of P for supply.

Judge Paul Mabey QC sentenced him to nine years and five months’ prison after taking into account Iopata’s guilty plea and a small discount for factors outlined in his cultural report.

The judge sentenced Anahera Iopata to 12 months’ home detention and she will be subject to nine months of post detention conditions.

Judge Mabey said nothing less than a home detention sentence could be imposed for this type of serious offending, despite her lawyer arguing for a less punitive sentence.

The charges stemmed from a large undercover police operation called Operation Notus, which looked into the activities of the Mongrel Mob Kawerau chapter and its associates.

The six-month investigation, launched in October 2017, resulted in raids at several properties across the eastern Bay of Plenty and other parts of the region.

It culminated in multiple arrests, with a number of those arrested still to go to trial.

Nathan Waikato, 43, from Te Teko, was also sentenced to 12 months’ home detention, with nine months’ post detention conditions on February 5, after he earlier pleaded guilty to a joint charge of cannabis cultivation.

Waikato’s offending related to him working with others, including Mongrel Mob Kawerau president Frank Milosevic and his son Slobodan Milesovic, to cultivate no less than 400 cannabis plants near the outskirts of Kawerau.

Frank and Slobodan Milosevic, also a patched Mongrel Mob member, were jailed for 17-1/2 years and 15 years respectively on February 11.

The pair were found guilty of a raft of cannabis and methamphetamine dealing and money laundering charges at their trials in the High Court at Hamilton late last year.

Meanwhile, another Operation Notus offender Vania Drummond, 26, from Otakiki pleaded guilty to 14 drug-dealing charges in Tauranga District Court on February 12.

This included four joint charges of selling or supplying cannabis, five joint charges of supply methamphetamine to others and three joint charges of offering to supply P.

He has also admitted conspiring with another man to supply 7 grams of P to unknown person/s and a cannabis cultivation charge involving not less than 250 cannabis plants.

Drummond has also admitted supplying P to other persons including more than 60 grams of methamphetamine to another man, and offering to supply him another 3 grams.

The offences were committed in Opotiki and Kawerau between September 1, 2017, and March 26, 2018.

Judge Mabey remanded Drummond on bail pending sentencing in April, but told him he would be receiving a prison sentence.

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