Report implicates Mongrel Mob in synthetic drug trafficking

A leaked report has identified the Mongrel Mob as one of the groups making synthetic drugs - dubbed 'synthicide' - on New Zealand soil.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to as many as 10 deaths in the past month.

The report came from the National Drug Intelligence Bureau, which provides intelligence to police, Customs and the Ministry of Health on drug trafficking and manufacturing.

It says the Mongrel Mob distributes the drug in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It's passed on to numerous unaffiliated sources to get it onto the streets and sold quickly.

The drugs are usually made from an unregulated plant product called damiana. At least 300 kilograms of it have come into the country this year alone.

But the damage is caused by the synthetic cannabinoid powder and spray being added to make up a deadly cocktail, including para-Fluorophenylpiperazine or pFPP.

PFPP has been linked to at least four of the synthicide deaths in New Zealand so far.

A forensic chemist told The Project pFPP is part of the BZP and party pills family - substances that were banned a decade ago.

He said synthicide is easy to make. The synthetic powder is sprayed on to the damiana plant and a kilogram can be produced for under $300 - with a street value of $10,000.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said the issue should be treated more seriously.

"If 10 people had died in Remuera because there was a dodgy batch of pinot noir out there, there'd be a public crisis," he said.

"There needs to be a whole of Government approach to look at this issue. Ten people, I've never heard of something like this in the history of drug use in New Zealand.

"It's going to be a real challenge, and that's why I say it's not just a matter of policing the way out of this problem."

Mr Cahill said the ingredients used in synthicides are changing all the time, but one of the main ingredients used is 70 times as powerful as THC - the main ingredient in cannabis.

"This isn't cannabis - it's got very little resemblance to anything to do with cannabis. This is just chemicals mixed with a leaf; cannabis is almost just a marketing term."