National Outlaws sergeant Seth Forde’s bedroom is like any other – apart from the five guns, two pipe bombs, 300 rounds of ammunition, methamphetamine and $80,000 cash.
In his workshop, there were two shotguns hidden inside the wall.
The 42-year-old was one of many targeted in Operation Kentucky – a Hawke’s Bay police gang focus unit investigation targeting the sale and supply of methamphetamine.
Forde, an Outlaws Motorcycle Club “national sergeant”, told police there were several weapons, including two pipe bombs, in his bedroom. He claimed they were for protection after the loss of his best friend, Outlaws president Peter Lui, who died after being assaulted on March 29.
Forde was sentenced in the Napier District Court on Tuesday to six years’ jail after earlier pleading guilty to nine charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, one of unlawfully carrying a firearm, one representative charge of supplying methamphetamine and one charge of possession for supply of methamphetamine.
Forde’s lawyer Cam Robertson said the firearms, ammunition and explosives were being held in response to the unexpected killing of Lui, and members of the Outlaws gang did not usually appear in the courts.
The gang was formed in 1960s, revolved around a love of motorbikes, “and has always been low-key and non-confrontational”, Robertson said.
“Members of the public and police were never in any danger from these firearms. They were specifically for defensive purposes.”
The pipe bombs were small and would do little more than be loud and scare people, he said.
Judge Russell Collins said a cultural report on Forde’s past and his addiction to meth “painted a pretty sad picture”, involving a childhood beset with violence and alcoholism.
The report, written by high-profile Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam, also said Forde had been subjected to reverse-racism as a Pākehā child raised in Flaxmere, and this had contributed to his becoming a criminal.
The judge said he understood Forde’s reasons for having the firearms, but that could not be accepted as a mitigating argument, and the public had no tolerance for this kind of offending.
Between June last year and May 2021, police monitored text messages and discovered the sale and supply of 117.5 grams of meth to 10 different people.
On May 12, police searched Forde’s home, which was also the Outlaws Motorcycle Club headquarters on Mersey St in Pandora. Lui had been assaulted outside the headquarters.
Before the warrant, Forde was stopped by police for driving while disqualified and upon being searched, police found a pistol in his jacket.
He was taken back to the club headquarters, where he told police he had guns, bombs and methamphetamine in his room and walked police through the pad to his bedroom, pointing out where the weapons were