Cocaine importer jailed for 8 years
A Tauranga man who imported cocaine and methamphetamine into New Zealand in laptops has been jailed for eight years.
Sickness beneficiary Joseph Evans, 51, was convicted and sentenced in the Tauranga District Court today on 12 charges of importing and supplying cocaine and meth, Luke Balvert at SunLive reported.
Evans was already serving a 6-1/2-year jail sentence for kidnapping and sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. The eight-year sentence would be added to his current time.
Crown prosecutor Nick Belton told the court the offending was a "high-level commercial importation" of the two drugs over a substantial period of time.
Judge Christopher Harding believed an appropriate starting point was 14 years for the drugs charges with a reduction of two years for Evans' late guilty plea and remorse.
Owing to the existing 6-1/2 year sentence, Harding further reduced the sentence to eight years with a minimum non-parole period of half that.
He described the importation operation as "highly premeditated and was high-end commercial importation of a scale, fortunately, not often seen in this court".
Cocaine is not manufactured in New Zealand. It can only be imported, and is often sourced from various areas in South America and the United States.
When questioned by police Evans admitted the bags of meth and cocaine were imported by him in a revamped laptop computer.
He told police he had been importing the drugs from the United States through the laptops since June 2012.
The money was funded by Evans and others by loading money onto Visa travel cards. Evans recalled putting between $160,000 and $180,000 on the cards.
He told police he had been selling cocaine at $6000 an ounce (28.3 grams) along with buying meth at $65 a gram and selling it for $8000 an ounce in New Zealand. He also imported working computers as "dummy" runs that didn't contain drugs.
He said he was importing the drugs in an attempt to better his and his children's lives.
Harding also ordered the forfeiture of $17,690 cash and destruction of the drugs and utensils.
Charges against Evans' son, Seth Neita Evans, were recently dropped owing to a lack of evidence.