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Drug boss jailed, told to forfeit $5.1m

14:17 Fri Mar 8 2013

A Hamilton man has been jailed for 12 years and ordered to hand back more than $5 million in assets after being convicted on a variety of drug charges.

Stephen John Gray was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, with a minimum jail term of five and a half years, after being convicted of manufacturing and supplying methamphetamine, and selling cannabis, ecstasy and LSD.

The 57-year-old was also ordered to hand over $5.1 million worth of property and cash to the Crown in what police say was the largest judgment against one person under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

The assets include a $2.7m lifestyle block along with a profit forfeiture order of $2.4m.

Detective Sergeant Craig Hamilton of the Waikato Organised Crime Squad said Gray couldn't keep the assets as he obtained them as a direct result of making and selling methamphetamine.

"Buying flash houses and farms doesn't legitimise drug money and the 2009 Criminal Proceeds Act ensures that we can get at the cash and the properties," he said.

"It is a good result for us and sends a clear message that offenders will be stripped of profits made through drug offending."

Phone conversations intercepted by police suggested Gray had sold nearly 1.7kg of methamphetamine, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The forfeiture order was the second major one ruled by the courts this week after Feng Chih Hsu was ordered to hand over $1.2m after he was found guilty of methamphetamine and firearms charges.

Police say they also hold restraining orders over assets worth an estimated $109.5m which have yet to be subject to court hearings.

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