The self-described "Legend of Kohi", Robbie Haarhaus, had a home in the blue-chip suburb of Kohimarama with a $250,000 Mercedes-Benz parked in the drive.
Friends with the rich and famous, Haarhaus surrounded himself with the glitterati of the Auckland social scene.
Neighbours would complain of loud music booming from the bachelor pad into the small hours, while luxury cars would come and go at all hours.
No one seemed to question how a failed second-hand car dealer and nightclub owner could afford such a lavish lifestyle a few years after being bankrupted.
That is, until drug detectives began covert surveillance of the Kohimarama Rd townhouse, described as "party central" with all the "bells and whistles".
In fact, Detective Sergeant John Sowter called the residence a drug "supermarket" where large amounts of P, Ecstasy and GHB were bought and sold for supply.
Justice Lyn Stevens agreed with that description.
In the High Court at Auckland, he sentenced Robert Benjamin Haarhaus to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession for supply of the class A drug methamphetamine, as well as class B drugs MDMA (Ecstasy) and GHB, or Fantasy.
The 45-year-old Haarhaus was caught in Operation Texas after police bugged his phones in August 2007, listening to his conversations and watching his every move.
A wholesaler, Haarhaus would buy methamphetamine at $12,000 an ounce, or 28 grams, then sell to dealers. At $700 to $1000 a gram on the street, an ounce is worth between $20,000 and $28,000.
In one conversation overheard by police, Haarhaus told his girlfriend he was going to break his daily selling record. He had already sold two ounces, and was packing a third.
Methamphetamine was referred to in code: "fish tank", "circle", "bloody cold", "flounder"; Ecstasy was "lollies" or "roundies", while GHB was "drink".
Justice Stevens was satisfied Haarhaus sold at least 25 ounces - a street value of up to $700,000 - during the month-long investigation, although the judge said the total amount was likely to be "considerably more".
Police say Haarhaus was becoming increasingly paranoid that undercover officers were watching him, but was unaware the phones were tapped.
There was plenty to pick and choose from in the "supermarket". Haarhaus boasted of being able to sell 6500 MDMA tablets in a matter of weeks.
His supplier Giuseppe Catalogna, a 55-year-old Italian citizen who lived on Waiheke Island, sold thousands of Ecstasy pills to him at a wholesale price of $25-$30 each.
Police found nearly $50,000 cash at his home and hundreds of blue pills imprinted with a swallow bird logo. The same "lollies" were found at Haarhaus's home. Catalogna pleaded guilty and Justice Ronald Young admonished him at sentencing.
"To begin selling drugs for a man in his 50s seems remarkably foolish to me," he said.
If "drink" was needed - street slang for GHB or Fantasy - Haarhaus could get it from Stanley Leone.
In bugged conversations, Haarhaus asked 28-year-old Leone for some "drink" at a price of "20 litres for 20K".
Haarhaus would buy at a price of $1000 a litre, then sell at $2000 a litre.
Police watched as Leone's BMW arrived at the Kohi address later that night, the driver carrying what looked like a 20-litre container into the house.
Leone was found guilty of supplying Haarhaus with the class B drug gammahydroxybutrate. He will be sentenced on August 19.
Haarhaus built his lavish lifestyle soon after his company RH Enterprises, which operated Aston Motors in Mt Wellington, went into liquidation in 2002. A Parnell nightclub he owned, Sweet 285, also went under and Haarhaus was bankrupted that year.
Soon after, he began selling legal party pills, then moved on to illicit drugs, first to feed his P habit, then to make money.
The Crown is seeking to claim nearly $1 million of property owned by Haarhaus.
His $250,000 Mercedes-Benz has gone - sold to pay his legal bill - but other assets such as the $800,000 home, a $30,000 diamond found there and $17,000 in cash held by the Official Assignee are up for grabs.
Detective Andrew Dunhill, the officer in charge of Operation Texas, confirmed that money laundering charges had been laid against Haarhaus.
"He's been doing this a long time, obtaining massive assets without working a day job since 2002. He had all the toys."
Robert Benjamin Haarhaus: Convicted of methamphetamine, Ecstasy and GHB charges.
Giuseppe Catalogna: Convicted of Ecstasy charges.
Stanley Leone: Convicted of GHB charges.
Paul Lawrence Campen: Convicted of Ecstasy charges.
Jason Austin: Convicted of methamphetamine charges.
12 years huh...i wonder how he is doing in there. That is a lot of methampetamine that he was supplying...sometimes up to 3 ounces a day? That's crazy/mental.
I wonder when the Waiheke guy got arrested. I was invited over to some old dude's place on Waiheke Island, by a "friend"...he used to go over there to buy ounces. I wonder if it is the same guy. This was only last year though...so i would say there is probably more than one older guy on Waiheke Island that was getting up to this kind of thing.
I actually think Waiheke is a fairly popular spot for these types. I knew quite a few people that would take day/weekend trips over there all the time. I declined the invitations that i received to go over there. By the time i knew that many people, i was too anxiety ridden to socialise or want to be away from the little fantasy world that i had going on in my apartment. I needed to be in my own familiar surroundings, or i would freak out.
In hindsight...that anxiety was probably what protected me from any of the voilence that goes on in that world. I know that it was what made me feel indestructable enough to be able to stick up for myself, and tell pretty bad people to get the F out of my apartment, and get away with it!
It says here, that he started out with party pills. I look back now, and those party pills are disgusting, and evil things. I had never so much as touched, or been tempted to touch drugs, my whole life, until after Danny and i's stint with those revolting pills. We used to take them every night together.
Crazy. Revolting. I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about how those things made me feel in my stomach...how dehydrated they made me look and feel...GROSS.
I was seriously going to take a nap, until these articles caught my eye. NOW it is nap time for me.