'Grandfather of crime' gets 17 years for meth

Seven men have been jailed over a gang-organised drug ring. 

Notorious career criminal, 72-year-old Peter Francis Atkinson, was charged with manufacture of one kilogram of meth, and a further charge of attempted manufacture. 

The so-called "grandfather of crime" was sentenced to 17 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of seven years on Monday.

His lawyer Martin Hislop argued Atkinson was merely the cook, and was pressured by Head Hunters gang members.

However Justice Mathew Downs at the Auckland High Court disagreed, calling Atkinson a clear risk to the public.

"By your age even the hardest criminals have stopped. You are exceptional," said Justice Downs. 

Atkinson will be 80 by the time he is eligible for parole.

Another notorious criminal, Head Hunters gang leader William 'Bird' Hines, 64, was handed down a sentence of 18-and-a-half years for his role in directing the 2015 operation.

Justice Downs put in place a minimum non-parole period of 8 years and 4 months, due only to his poor health.

Hines' second in command, 38-year-old Travis James Sadler, was handed down a sentence of 18 years and two months with a minimum non parole period of nine years.

In sentencing, Justice Downs said Sadler was instrumental in getting the main ingredients, 4.46kg of pseudoephedrine from a dealer, and that the offending could not have happened without him. 

Justice Downs added it was clear Hines trusted Sadler to carry out his orders as directed.

Sadler's 57-year-old father, Thomas Gordon Edwardson, was also sentenced to six years in prison for possession of meth for supply. 

Head Hunters gang member, Te Here Maihi Maaka, 36, helped pay rent for the Panmure storage unit where five firearms, 136g of meth and large quantities of precursor ingredients were found.

He was sentenced to 16 years and 2 months with a minimum non-parole period of seven years and three months.

The family of Maaka expressed dismay at the sentence length and swore at the judge, forcing a break in proceedings.

Maaka's 29-year-old brother, Falco Brouq Cellah, was sentenced to 13 years for supervising the manufacture of the one kilogram of meth.

He was given a minimum non-parole period of five years, two months and two weeks. 

Another man, 47-year-old father of two John Gerard Vijn, was given a lighter sentence of four years and three months.

Justice Downs said while Vijn was not a member of the Head Hunters, he was an enthusiastic participant in the operation and had supplied paint-thinning liquid toluene with the intention it be used for meth manufacture. 

The court heard that Vijn worked full time as a roofer, but had been struggling to support a meth addiction.