Meet The Undercover Cop Who Took Down NZ Gangs From The Inside

Former detective Mark van Leewarden worked undercover in the 1970 and 80s to infiltrate an Auckland drug ring, taking on the identity of a criminal who bought illegal items.

“I set myself in the baddest downtown pub in Auckland at that time,” Leewarden said, “I bought stolen property, weapons, drugs, jewellery. So the burglars would come into the hotel to sell me stuff.”

Mark van Leewarden tells stories from his time undercover on the Crime Insiders podcast:

Local police weren’t aware that Leewarden was a detective on a covert mission, and he would often get in trouble.

“Ricki Goodin and the guys that I were running with… were big-time drug dealers and well-known to the police,” he said.

“If I was in a bar, I’d get taken out the hands against the wall and searched and the boots tipped out.”

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Leewarden once ran into an officer with a bag full of stolen goods over his shoulder.

“I walked straight into a beat cop who was walking along… We just looked at each other and he didn’t do anything. And I just walked across the road.”

He tells the story of the time he got arrested while undercover on the Crime Insiders podcast.

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