Operation Abbey money laundering trial postponed to 2022



The Palmerston North District Court trial of two people charged with money laundering for drug trafficker Horowhenua Gary O'Connell has been delayed.

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The Palmerston North District Court trial of two people charged with money laundering for drug trafficker Horowhenua Gary O’Connell has been delayed.

The trial of two people who allegedly laundered money earned by a large Horowhenua methamphetamine ring has been postponed until the last minute, meaning they will wait more than two years before being heard.

A man and woman, whose names have been deleted, were due to be tried in Palmerston North District Court on December 6.

They face multiple counts of money laundering in connection with a methamphetamine ring run by Shannon man Gary Colin O’Connell.

They allegedly used companies to launder the profits from O’Connell’s meth.

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Gary Colin O'Connell ran a hugely profitable methamphetamine ring, raising $ 4 million in five years which he laundered through various avenues.

Warwick Smith / Stuff

Gary Colin O’Connell ran a hugely profitable methamphetamine ring, raising $ 4 million in five years which he laundered through various avenues.

He and several others, including the man and woman, were arrested in September 2019 after police carried out Operation Abbey.

The operation resulted in police seizing assets worth more than $ 3 million, including dozens of high-performance cars, five properties and around $ 210,000 in cash.

Most of those arrested have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced – O’Connell was jailed for nine years – with only four defendants remaining.

One, Jason Earl Lovejoy, is awaiting his own trial for possession of methamphetamine for supply purposes while another, Nathan Brian Robert, is next in court in January.

The man and woman will not go to trial in December, with Judge Lance Rowe setting aside the trial date at an administrative hearing in Palmerston North District Court on Thursday.

Much of what was said in court cannot be reported as it could interfere with the trial, but making sure the evidence was fully prepared was part of the reason for the trial being canceled.

The case will then be called in December to try to set a trial date for 2022.


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