Kronic shop owner Paul Adam Richardson has been jailed for four years for selling party pills, at his sentencing as the main player in the police's Operation Shadow drugs investigation.
The shop was continuing to sell the previously legal drug, at two capsules for $35, after BZP had been made illegal as a class C controlled drug in 2008.
Crown prosecutor Deirdre Elsmore said the operation was a commercial enterprise with a significant turnover.
Police said at the time that thousands of capsules were seized in their raids in December 2010, when eight people were arrested.
Five of them were scheduled for sentence in the Christchurch District Court today, but only three sentencings were able to go ahead. Two others had to be further remanded for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.
Richardson's defence counsel, David Bunce, said his client accepted that he was the leading offender in the drugs operation.
He had admitted charges of conspiring with three other people to deal in BZP, as well as selling it, possession of it for sale and possession of cannabis.
Judge Raoul Neave said Richardson said in a letter to the court that he had acquired the drugs legally before BZP was reclassified. He was remorseful about getting other people involved, including his partner and staff at the shops, which operated from Ferry Rd and Colombo St.
The judge said there had been potential for sales "well into six figures" for the drugs involved in the operation.
He increased Richardson's sentence for previous drug offending that had brought prison sentences, but reduced it for positive features outlined in the pre-sentence report and for his guilty pleas.
Richardson expressed concern that it appeared prison policy was banning his partner from contacting him in prison before her own sentencing. "It is less than ideal if prison policy should stand in the way of families maintaining contact."
Amanda Elizabeth Walla, 29, was sentenced to nine months of home detention at an Aranui house and she was ordered to take treatment, counselling and vocational courses as directed.
She had admitted her part in supplying methamphetamine to an undercover policeman.
Judge Neave said it was a dangerous drug, but Walla had a limited history of previous offending.
A shop assistant at Kronik had asked Walla to help supply the drug to the man who turned out to be an officer.
She went with the man and the shop assistant to a nearby address, where $200 worth of the drug was supplied to him.
Natalie Jan Sully, 27, had admitted supply BZP when she was a shop assistant at Kronik.
Judge Neave said she had become involved through her naivety and her work in the shop. She had sold the drug to an undercover officer who went to the shop and asked for "specials".
She later told the police she thought it was old stock and she was only doing what she was told.
Judge Neave imposed a term of three months' home detention at an address in Wainoni, with an order that she is not to get employment or training without her probation officer's permission.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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