She called herself "the queen of crack", and the methamphetamine drug ring she ran boasted of making $800,000, with members exchanging large bundles of cash for drugs at restaurants and service stations.
The ring also had an unidentified prison guard – a "good screw" – at Rimutaka Prison who smuggled their drugs to inmates for $500 a pop.
The six-member ring, jailed this week, was busted by Napier detectives in November 2010 after a five-month investigation.
Police tapped cellphones and landlines and set up recording devices in the house of Manu Ngaronoa, who referred to herself in one call as "the queen of crack" and said she supplied most of the methamphetamine in Hawke's Bay.
Ngaronoa, 49, had 92 previous convictions, but just one for drugs – possession of cannabis in 1989.
The drugs made their way to Hawke's Bay from Auckland Hells Angels member Kishor Singh, 41, who met William Paul, 42, and Michael Barber, 31, and handed over methamphetamine and cannabis for bundles of tens of thousands of dollars.
The Crown's summary of facts said meetings took place in KFC and Denny's restaurants, service stations and pubs. On different occasions Singh was handed cash sums of $33,000, $36,200, $40,600, $44,000, $14,210, $28,000 and $40,900.
In the days before the arrests, police recorded Tracey Benson, 43, telling Ngaronoa about a "good screw", or prison guard, who was paid $500 to take methamphetamine and cannabis to her partner Lance Ratima, an inmate in Rimutaka.
Benson said she paid the officer $500 to make the delivery, the High Court at Napier was told.
On November 20, Benson called Ratima to say she would be delivering "clothes" the following day.
The next day the pair discussed collecting a delivery for another inmate and going "halves in the paper" – referring to payment for the prison officer.
On November 25, Ratima told Benson he had received a delivery of "two green tops", (meaning two ounces of cannabis), the "hats", meaning caps of cannabis oil, and the "white one" (meaning methamphetamine) and that "the old man got all [his] paperwork".
Ngaronoa was the principal distributor of the methamphetamine and was responsible for maintaining the records, collecting debts and storing cash.
In a phone conversation on November 28, Paul told Ngaronoa and Robert Rewita, 41, that "we made more than $800,000 this year".
The six members of the syndicate were sentenced to jail terms ranging from two years one month up to eight years and 11 months.
The prison guard who smuggled methamphetamine and cannabis into Rimutaka Prison was never identified.
The Corrections Department could not say if the Rimutaka Prison officer referred to in the phone recording by Tracey Benson in 2010 was one of those charged with drug offences in recent years.
These included Johan Clarke, who was jailed last year for smuggling drugs into the prison in 2008 and 2009, and unit manager Jeffrey Reid, who was sentenced to home detention last year for conspiracy to supply cannabis.
Most prison officers were incorruptible, Canterbury University criminologist and professor Greg Newbold said. "It's very rare for prison officers to be involved in highly criminal activity like this, but Rimutaka seems to be the exception. There is something very rotten at Rimutaka."
Corrections general manager prison services Jeanette Burns said the smuggling claim was investigated by police and Corrections' professional standards unit. The department set high standards and had a programme to "encourage and enable staff to have integrity in everything they do".