Trio jailed for roles in drug supply ring
Three men were sent to jail yesterday for their roles in an LSD and ecstasy supply ring in Wanaka.
Daniel Miller, 30, plasterer, Monty Archie Vass, 19, kitchen hand, and Daarian Wira, 18, appeared for sentence before Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court for cannabis, ecstasy and LSD offending last year.
The three were among those targeted by undercover police in Wanaka during late 2012 and last year in Operation Viking, which included electronic interception of phone calls and text messages.
Miller was sent to jail for two years and 10 months for 27 charges of drug-dealing between August 1 and October 18, Vass was sentenced to two years and two months in jail for 22 charges between July 5 and October 25 and Wira to 16 months' jail for two drug-related charges and unrelated offending after the police sting during ski season.
The judge described the trio as "street-level dealers" but said Miller's dealing was more than minor. He noted Miller's upbringing was distressing and he had turned to drugs after a tragedy involving his mother.
"There was an element of you selling drugs to support your own drug use but there was a level of commerciality over and above that. You sold drugs in a variety of quantities."
Miller - who yelled "Thanks for coming, love you all" as he was jailed - admitted 19 charges of offering to sell cannabis, one of procuring ritalin, two of conspiring to supply cannabis, two of offering to supply MDMA (ecstasy) and three of offering to supply LSD.
Crown prosecutor Sarah McKenzie said Miller repeatedly arranged to buy drugs in a continuous course of conduct where he either sold or sourced drugs.
"He was supplying in all three classes, both whole ounces [of cannabis] and half ounces."
Lawyer Mike Newell said his client suffered tragic personal circumstances when he was younger.
"He is much loved by his family and they want him to deal with this. He has recognised the consequences of his offending, how it's affecting him and his family."
Vass was sentenced for conspiring to supply ecstasy, two charges of offering to supply ecstasy, supplying ecstasy, procuring ecstasy, seven charges of offering to sell ritalin, procuring ritalin, eight charges of offering to sell cannabis and procuring to sell cannabis.
He used coded language in text
messages and supplied an undercover officer with 2g of ecstasy for $900.
Newell said his client's life had been dysfunctional for the past five years. "He's a street-level man; he's involved because he's a user."
Vass was involved in drug use from an early age and his relationship with his family was volatile, the court was told. After he was sentenced, the judge allowed tearful family members to say goodbye and hug the teenager.
Wira, of Albert Town, was jailed for offering to sell ecstasy on September 5, offering to sell ritalin between August and December, offering to sell cannabis on January 9, threatening to injure with intent to intimidate and resisting police on December 31.
The judge said aggravating factors included the time span of the offending, the types of drugs, numerous text messages and offering to supply an undercover officer.
McKenzie said offending was class B and class C over a six-month period. An ecstasy price of $450 a gram was discussed, she said.
Newell said there was no evidence of actual drugs, rather there was a discussion about the price of drugs. "The defendant is talking as a middleman rather than a direct supplier."
Earlier this year, two others arrested as part of Operation Viking were sentenced to home detention.
Last month, Oscar Jimmy Gold Arlidge, 28, was remanded for sentence on June 16 for seven drug offences.
The Southland Times