Prison inmate busted dealing drugs from behind bars

By Sandra Conchie of Bay of Plenty Times -
File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Te Puke man behind bars for cannabis dealing offences has had another two-and-half years added to his sentence after he was busted for further dealing offences thanks to vigilant prison guards.

Hemiona William Ririnui, 29, was sentenced to a year's prison in November 8 last year on two counts of selling cannabis to undercover police officers in 2010 during a police sting operation targeting drug dealers in the Te Puke area.

In the High Court at Rotorua today Justice Peter Woodhouse sentenced Ririnui to a further two years six months in prison for further cannabis cultivation and dealing offences.

In September Ririnui pleaded guilty to one count each of cultivating cannabis, possession of cannabis for supply, conspiring to deal cannabis and participation in an organised criminal group.

These offences came to light after prison guards monitoring Ririnui's outwards calls from a prison phone to a female associate in March and April this year heard him talking to her about a cannabis harvesting, processing and supply operation in the Bay of Plenty.

During the calls, Ririnui talked about having a number of cannabis plots growing in the Bay of Plenty, and gave advice on the best ways to harvest, process and supply the drug.

When police searched an empty Maketu house they found several piles of cannabis stalks, fencing staples, plastic bags and cannabis leaf and remnants of cannabis inside the house and behind it.

Around 15.85kg of disposed cannabis leaf was seized and another 2kg of cannabis was found inside an orchard at the rear of Ririnui's family address in Te Puke.

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