A former senior leader of the Christchurch chapter of the Head Hunters motorcycle gang has today avoided jail after admitting being involved in organised crime.
Lyndon Vaughn Richardson, 49, was arrested during Operation Block – a long-running police probe into suspected drug dealing in Christchurch back in 2016.
Richardson was then a key figure of the Head Hunters in the city and was arrested after a series of raids, including police searching the gang’s fortified Sockburn headquarters.
Today at the High Court in Christchurch, Richardson was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention after pleading guilty to a charge of participating in an organised criminal group.
Other ex-gang associates have already been sentenced for their roles.
In August and September 2016, police began investigating the activities of the Head Hunters in Christchurch.
Richardson was a patched member of the gang in a senior leadership role and at the time, along with other gang members and associates, regularly sold methamphetamine, the court heard.
The deals were organised over the phone, followed by a meeting.
Some customers, the court heard, would then on-sell methamphetamine for profit, of which Richardson received a share.
He also got a share of any drug debt money recovered by associates, the court heard.
And although Justice Jan-Marie Doogue noted that Richardson was not charged as a party to drug dealing, as a senior member of the gang she felt he must have had a “clear picture” of what was going on – and must have received some financial gain.
The judge believed that Richardson was yet to fully accept the gravity of his offending.
Richardson left the Head Hunters three years ago after a disagreement, the court heard, although the gang reportedly says the door is still open to him.
Justice Doogue said that was a major achievement – and Richardson says he will not be going back to gang life.
Defence counsel Kerry Cook today highlighted Richardson’s difficult upbringing but said the long court process has resulted in positive changes.
He’s now a grandparent and wanting to break the inter-generational gang cycle, Cook said.
A pre-sentence report was positive, the lawyer said, showing that Richardson demonstrated insight into his offending.
Justice Doogue sentenced Richardson to 10 months’ home detention, giving him the opportunity to “break the cycle”.
But she warned him, “You risk losing the benefit of this holistic sentence if you breach any of the conditions of home detention.”
The judge also ordered that Richardson complete counselling for violence and drug addiction, along other treatment programmes, and to refrain from association with any patched member or prospect of the Head Hunters.