Jail for Wanaka drug dealer

Oscar Arlidge during sentencing in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.
Oscar Arlidge during sentencing in the Queenstown District Court yesterday.

A man busted in an undercover police sting into LSD and ecstasy dealing in Wanaka was jailed yesterday.

Oscar Jimmy Gold Arlidge, 28, was sentenced to two years and eight months' jail by Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court.

Arlidge was one of eight people arrested last year as part of an undercover police bust dubbed Operation Viking.

He admitted offering to supply LSD on October 5, three charges of supplying LSD in September and October, supplying ecstasy on September 20, offering to supply ecstasy on September 13 and offering to supply cannabis on October 24.

Crown prosecutor Michael Morris said the offending was more serious than that of other Operation Viking defendants previously sentenced.

"In this case the defendant actually supplied large quantities. On two occasions he supplied 100 tabs of LSD, four times the presumed level of dealing, 25 tabs.

"The offending was not impulsive and in the defendant's own admission he knew it was wrong. Selling seems to have arisen because of naivete."

Arlidge started using drugs before he was a teenager and he probably suffered from undiagnosed ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) for years.

The Crown and defence differed on the number of LSD tabs in question - the Crown said the amount was more than 200 but lawyer Fiona Guy-Kidd said one sheet of 100 tabs tested negative for the powerful psychedelic.

Guy-Kidd said Arlidge was approached by an undercover officer numerous times and there was a growing reluctance by her client to discuss drugs.

It was an unusual case, there were factual errors in the Crown case and her client was not one of those identified by police before the Operation Viking arrest phase. Instead, he was a heavy user of LSD and ecstasy who was caught up in the party scene.

There was a significant if indirect relationship between his ADHD, substance abuse and the offending, she said.

He distanced himself from the party scene and attended and completed rehabilitation programmes. Psychiatrists and the Salvation Army recommended a community-based sentence to accommodate treatment.

The judge said Arlidge was forensically aware, avoiding discussing drugs via phone or text message and using coded language. "Offending was pre- meditated, planned and carefully orchestrated."

The Southland Times