Profit might have outweighed the risk, but drug dealer not living the high life
A part-time cleaner sold drugs to make ends meet, not to live the high life, according to his lawyer.
Dejected about not being able to find full-time work, Shaun Claude Te Ruki came up with a business plan to sell cannabis from his home in order to supplement his meagre income.
But lawyer Nathan Bourke said Te Ruki was in no way living a life of luxury from the money he was making off the drug dealing enterprise.
"You look out the window and there's no Ferrari parked outside," Bourke told the New Plymouth District Court on Wednesday.
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Te Ruki previously pleaded guilty to charges of possession of cannabis for supply and selling the class C drug.
Bourke said Te Ruki had limited job qualifications and few job prospects, despite his ongoing attempts to find full time work.
"He has become demoralised from the constant rejection," he said.
Bourke said the 34-year-old did have a cleaning job, where he worked for three hours each day, but remained strapped for cash.
He asked Judge Chris Sygrove to consider a sentence of community detention and community work for the drug offending, which represented Te Ruki's first convictions in 10 years.
Sygrove said a search warrant was executed at Te Ruki's New Plymouth home on July 8.
Police found 22 cannabis tinnies in one part of the house and another 12 stashed elsewhere. Sygrove said the tinnies, which contained half a gram to a gram of cannabis, were sold for between $20-25 each.
Along with other drug dealing paraphernalia, $400 and utensils were also found.
Sygrove said Te Ruki told officers he had resorted to selling the drugs in order to buy groceries.
"You said you weren't on a benefit because you couldn't be bothered with all the hassle that goes along with it."
The judge said Te Ruki told the probation service he weighed up the options before he started dealing drugs and explained in some depth the detail of his operation. Sygrove said Te Ruki ultimately felt the "profit outweighed the risk" when he started his illegal scheme.
Te Ruki was sentenced to six months' community detention where he will have to observe a 7pm to 7am curfew. He will also have to complete 120 hours of community work.
At the request of police, Sygrove granted a forfeiture order for the seized cash and drug material.