Gang chairman Comancheros remains behind bars after being deemed high risk

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By Leighton Keith, Open Justice reporter for

Comanchero Motorcycle Club president Pasilika Naufahu and several of his associates and alleged associates have pleaded not guilty to drug and money laundering charges.

Comanchero Motorcycle Club president Pasilika Naufahu has been denied parole for the second time in four months. File photo.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The Comancheros gang boss has been released early for the second time in four months because he is still considered an excessive risk if he is released.

Pasilika Naufahu appeared before the probation commission on September 12 and was again denied parole after being eligible for parole for the first time on May 11.

The 35-year-old was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2021 for participating in an organized crime group, conspiracy to deal in a Class B-controlled drug, money laundering, unlawful possession of ammunition and assault.

His sentence was later reduced to nine years and three months by the appeals court.

The chairman of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club told the board that he had done everything he could to show that he was a responsible citizen in prison.

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Naufahu continued to deny his involvement in drug trafficking and confirmed that he would remain involved with the gang, although he claimed he would obey all orders of the Parole Board.

Board chairman Sir Ron Young said it was pointed out that Naufahu had a responsibility to care for young children, and that this appeared to contradict his significant involvement in money laundering and conspiracy to supply drugs.

“The idea that he is a supportive father and husband is completely inconsistent with his desire to continue in the Comancheros gang and the prospect of further insult if he is released.”

The 501, who was deported to New Zealand in 2016, was arrested following raids in Auckland in April 2019, which seized more than $3.7 million in assets, including luxury cars, motorcycles, high-value luggage and jewelry.

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Naufahu had been sergeant-at-arm for the Comancheros in Australia, where he and his brother had had a high degree of involvement in the gang. He had a number of convictions in Australia, including for violence.

Young said the board was convinced Naufahu posed an unnecessary risk and could not be released.

“We are pleased that he is at high risk of wrongdoing again, given his past, his personality and his involvement with the Comancheros gang.”

A psychologist felt that a special treatment program for violent crimes would adequately meet Naufahu’s rehabilitation needs.

However, Naufahu believed that he had been treated seriously unfairly and that he would not be transferred to another prison to complete the program.

“At least he didn’t think that program would help him because he didn’t see him as a violent person and so that would essentially be a waste of time for him.”

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Young said the board was confident that the recommended program was the right risk-based treatment for him and hoped he would undertake it with an open mind.

“We see no reason why he can’t transfer prisons to run that program and we hope this can happen as soon as reasonably possible,” Young said.

“Given that he is currently at high risk of reoffending and without further rehabilitation programs, it is difficult to see the way out for him before the end of his sentence.”

Naufahu, which has a statutory release date of July 2028, is set to be seen by the board again before the end of December 2023.

This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald

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