19 Aug 2011

Three Tongan sportsmen arrested in methamphetamine scam

7:00 am on 19 August 2011

Three Tongan sportsmen are embroiled in a methamphetamine scam worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The men were arrested and appeared in Auckland District Court on Wednesday, charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine into New Zealand.

They are the former Tongan Rugby Union team manager, Angus Naupoto, a former Tongan Rugby Union player, Peter Lawrence Tanginoa, and a former Tongan Rugby League player, Willie Wolfgramm.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good, of the Auckland Police Drug Squad, says the arrests were a result of an ongoing investigation which began in July.

"The investigation was generated from persons in Tonga running a scam in which they led others to believe - other people here in New Zealand, other people in Tonga maybe - that there was a stockpile of several hundred kilograms of methamphetamine. And the scam was that the people would be coming to New Zealand to arrange the shipment of the drugs to New Zealand and distribution within New Zealand for a profit."

Detective Inspector Good says no drugs ever existed.

One man is being held in police custody, and the others have been released on bail.