How Criminals Get Their Guns – The Underworld Provider Who Bypassed the Law
Just a week after police in Hamilton and Auckland faced offenders with guns in two separate one-fatal incidents, the ease with which criminals can obtain deadly weapons has been exposed in a single court document.
Through an eight-page factual summary for Gordon McRae, he details how methamphetamine trafficker Taupō was able to circumvent gun laws to supply guns to the criminal world.
McRae, 34, who pleaded guilty to a range of gun and drug charges including supplying firearms to unlicensed persons, possession of a pistol, conspiracy to possess a gun and the supply of methamphetamine, used a surprisingly simple trick.
He persuaded the gun license holders to buy the guns and hand them over to him. He then resold them.
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Police summary of facts revealed that they learned of McRae’s activities in December 2020, launching Operation Venom with a successful High Court request for McRae surveillance using tracking devices and the interception of his private communications.
“The information obtained revealed that the defendant was also involved in the sale and supply of methamphetamine,” the summary said.
“The defendant used his relationship with two associates who held their own firearms licenses and convinced them to purchase firearms on his behalf.
“The firearms that were acquired by the accused were then sold on the black market and are now in the hands of unlicensed individuals involved in the criminal community.
On one occasion in September 2020, a licensed associate traveled to Gun City in Hamilton, spending $ 8,977.99 in cash to acquire five firearms and 1,200 rounds.
These guns were then turned over to McRae, who then resold them for cash or as part payment for ounces of methamphetamine to other unauthorized individuals involved in the criminal environment.
The defendant reassured his clients that the firearms were “brand new” and that they did not have to worry about what they might have used before.
The summary also included details of the negotiations between McRae and a member of the Rotorua-based Killer Beez gang, with McRae offering to trade in a pistol and $ 3,000 for an ounce of methamphetamine.
However, the gang member ended up rejecting the offer, as by his calculations he and the gang would have lost $ 1,200 on the deal.
On December 5 of last year, McRae was able to exploit another associate’s addiction to methamphetamine to get him to acquire guns on his behalf from Gun City in Auckland. He bought a shotgun, a long barrel revolver rifle, and placed an order for five more firearms.
However, after police intervened, Gun City told McRae’s associate that the ordered firearms could no longer be provided.
“This prompted an appeal between the defendant and [the associate] as to whether the police were investigating them or whether another associate of the accused contacted Gun City with the aim of “screwing him up.”
“The accused swore revenge on this stranger.”
The summary also revealed the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the importation of methamphetamine into New Zealand, particularly in mid-2020.
This resulted in a decrease in supply and therefore an increase in prices.
On February 10 of this year, police executed a search warrant on McRae’s address, finding empty bags selling methamphetamine, $ 1,850 in cash, officers “cutting” methamphetamine and a blank pistol in his vehicle.
McRae first told police he had no role in purchasing the Auckland guns, but provided just under $ 1,000 to an associate to acquire a rifle hunting bag and a rifle.
He also explained that his methamphetamine trafficking was due to his own drug addiction, claiming to personally smoke around half a gram most days.
“He said he constantly tries to facilitate transactions in the hopes that he can squeeze meth from the top of every sale to maintain his own habit and pay off debts,” the summary reads.
“He didn’t see himself as a ‘drug dealer’ per se.”
The summary also noted that at the time of writing “none of these guns have been recovered.”
McRae is expected to be sentenced in Rotorua district court in August.
Criminals Obtain Firearms From Licensed Owners
New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill said McRae’s offense came as no surprise to him because “criminals get their guns from authorized owners.”
“This is exactly the kind of thing we said can go on when there is no gun registry,” he said.
Cahill said that currently gun shops were not required to report sales and that police had no way of knowing who owned what or how many guns.
“That’s why we see all of these gun offenses happening, because criminals get their hands on these guns.
He said a gun registry would also allow police to verify unusual purchases – such as when McRae and an associate spent nearly $ 9,000 in cash to acquire five guns and 1,200 rounds in one. visit.
“If that’s not unusual, it indicates the problems we have in New Zealand.”
Cahill said that although under applicable laws the gun stores visited by McRae and his associates did nothing illegal, “morally they have a duty to say this is unusual.”
“People said criminals won’t register their guns, no they won’t, but that will prevent them from getting them in the first place. “
He also said that a registry would make responsible gun owners more responsible for paying more attention to the safety of their guns.