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Gangland: New Zealand’s Underworld of Organised Crime by Jared Savage


True crime doesn’t get any better than this! Award winning investigative reporter Jared Savage shares the stories behind the headlines in Gangland: New Zealand’s Underworld of Organised Crime. Early in his career, quite by accident, Jared learnt how to cultivate sources. In 2009, a source rang him while he was on a bus, on his way to work. They had an important story that they believed the public had a right to know about. Following the lead, he found himself the only reporter in the courtroom and couldn’t believe his luck. Jared’s first front-page story for the New Zealand Herald exposed how Asian crime syndicates were laundering drug profits through Auckland’s SkyCity casino.

“It was my entrée into New Zealand’s growing obsession with methamphetamine, and the colourful characters who inhabit the criminal underworld. Reporting on that hidden world was addictive. I was hooked,” writes Jared.

Since then, Jared has learnt about interception and surveillance warrants, undercover agents, controlled deliveries and the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act. When accused criminals were released on bail, he often staked out their homes to secure an interview. By his own admission, he’s spent a fair bit of time with crooks and with the cops who go after them.

I was surprised to learn New Zealand is one of the most lucrative illicit drug markets in the world. During the past two decades, drug dealers have shifted from motorcycle gangs to Asian crime syndicates and now the most dangerous drug lords in the world – the Mexican cartels.

Twenty years ago, a drug bust of a few ounces of methamphetamine, or ‘P’ as it is also known, was considered a big deal. Then in 2006, a 95 kg bust broke all records and remained the biggest meth haul for a decade. Now, drug busts of 100 kg are considered routine. In recent years, 500kg shipments have been intercepted.

From the birth of ‘P’ in New Zealand to New Zealand Narcos, when the cartels arrived, Jared expertly charts the multi-million dollar enterprises of organised drug trafficking. This is a riveting read and shockingly addictive.

In Gangland, each chapter details one of 12 of the most fascinating cases he has covered as a reporter. There’s the brutal execution of a husband and wife, an undercover cop who infiltrated a casino VIP lounge, a midnight fishing trip which led to the country’s largest cocaine bust, the gangster who shot his best friend in a motorcycle shop and more.

Jared Savage is an award winning investigative reporter for the New Zealand Herald. He lives in Tauranga with his family.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Harper Collins, RRP $36.99