A man who was arrested following a five-month sting targeting a methamphetamine ring was yesterday sent to jail.
Richard David Allen, 32, a tattooist, of Frankton, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in Invercargill District Court yesterday for one charge of conspiring to supply methamphetamine or P, six charges of possessing P for supply, six charges of supplying P and one of offering to supply P.
He was sentenced to two years and 11 months' jail.
Judge Phillips said the charges came about after the police operation, dubbed Operation Moses, discovered Allen and his associates had distributed P out of Auckland and into the Queenstown market.
The operation found text messages establishing clear evidence of his dealing, he said.
Judge Phillips said that between January and April Allen and others entered into an agreement where Allen's associates in Auckland obtained or manufactured P and Allen, who was in Queenstown, purchased it.
Allen made six trips to Auckland and purchased large quantities of P each time. He also arranged for two packets to be sent to Invercargill, he said. Overall, Allen purchased 92g of P from Auckland, paid $500 a gram and sold it for between $600 and $1000 a gram.
Judge Phillips said Allen's lawyer, Hugo Young, had said there was only a small mark-up on the 92g and he had smoked a substantial portion of his share.
Judge Phillips said Allen was remorseful.
Southern district organised crime group Detective Hamish Barrons said, after the court appearance, that the investigation began in October last year and nine people had since been arrested.
Allen had been apprehended after disembarking from an Auckland flight at Queenstown Airport. He had taken the P on the flight, he said.
Mr Barrons said a point bag of meth is a tenth of a gram that has a street value in the Otago/Southland region for between $100-$140 each.
Allen's sentencing was a clear signal meth dealers would go to prison, he said. "We are fully aware of the harm that meth and its associated crime has on our communities . . . as a priority we will continue to target those criminals who are involved in the manufacturing and supply of the drug."
- The Southland Times