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Senior Comanchero member admits drug charges, money laundering ahead of trial

Published in 1%er News

A senior member of the Comancheros has pleaded guilty to his involvement in a large scale money laundering and drug operation.

Jarome Fonua admitted the charges against him at the High Court at Auckland on Friday via a video link from prison.

Fonua, the gang’s treasurer, admitted participating in an organised criminal group for the purpose of drug dealing, money laundering and possession of 5.9 grams of methamphetamine.

Jarome Fonua, Tyson Daniels, Pasilika Naufahu, and Connor Michael Tamati Clausen at their first appearance last year.

Justice Sally Fitzgerald convicted Fonua and remanded him in custody for sentencing on October 23.

The treasurer told the judge he didn’t want convictions entered as he wanted to keep his place in prison ahead of sentencing. However, Justice Fitzgerald declined.

Various vehicles were seized from the Comanchero gang in a police raid.

Fonua was arrested, along with eight other co-accused, following a series of raids across Auckland last April, which saw more than $3.7 million in assets seized along with luxury cars, motorcycles, luxury luggage and jewellery.

The police investigation was into the supply of controlled drugs from the New Zealand chapter of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club.

On Friday, Fonua’s lawyer Harrison Smith said his client was aware of the criminal activity that generated the funds, but claims he didn’t know who generated the money and the source of it.

Earlier this year, lawyer Andrew Simpson and vice-president Tyson Daniels were jailed for their involvement in the operation.

The rest, including president Pasilika Naufahu, are set to go to trial in November.

COMANCHERO FACTS

– The Comanchero Motorcycle Club was formed by William George “Jock” Ross, a Scottish immigrant, in Sydney in 1968.

– Ross chose the name after seeing the John Wayne film The Comancheros.

– In 1982, a second chapter was formed by Anthony Mark “Snoddy” Spencer. When visiting the United States, Spencer met members of the Texan motorcycle club, the Bandidos, and the two gangs became allies.

– The Bandidos eventually patched-over the second Comanchero chapter to become the Bandidos’ first Australian chapter.

– The Comanchero and Bandidos are now rivals and, in 1984, the two clubs were involved in the Milperra massacre in Sydney, a shoot-out which left seven people dead, including four Comancheros, two Bandidos, and a 14-year-old bystander.

Location: New Zealand
Writer: Catrin Owen
Source: stuff.co.nz
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