Napier drug dealer told to expect long jail term

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Laki Sulusi, 43, appeared in court yesterday having been charged by police with bringing more than $300,000 worth of methamphetamine into Hawke's Bay.
Laki Sulusi, 43, appeared in court yesterday having been charged by police with bringing more than $300,000 worth of methamphetamine into Hawke's Bay.

A drug dealer has been told a lengthy jail sentence is likely after police charged him with bringing more than $300,000 worth of methamphetamine into Hawke's Bay.

Laki Sulusi, 43, appeared before Judge Geoff Rea at Napier District Court yesterday morning.

Defence counsel Leo Lafferty entered guilty pleas to each of his client's four charges of possessing the Class A controlled drug for supply.

A series of text messages and a search warrant executed by police in July this year were the downfall of the unemployed man, who was helping to fuel the region's methamphetamine scene, the court heard.

Police persecutor John Ashfield told the court that, during January last year, police became aware of an associate of Sulusi's selling methamphetamine.

The associate was making arrangements with a Tauranga-based supplier, where Sulusi drove on several occasions to retrieve 12 ounces (340g) of the drug.

The Napier man was arrested on July 28 this year, almost a year after his associate was arrested.

On December 17, 2014, Sulusi was instructed by his associate to travel to Tauranga to retrieve three ounces (85g) of meth and take it back to Hawke's Bay.

A week later, Sulusi's associate made another deal with the supplier, after which the defendant returned to Tauranga for the drugs.

Two days later, on Christmas Day, Sulusi again followed his associate's orders and drove to Tauranga to buy six ounces (170g) of methamphetamine.

In total, the defendant purchased 340g of methamphetamine, "under the direction of his associate from the Tauranga-based supplier", the summary of facts states.

"At street level this amount has the potential to be sold for $340,000, if sold at the price of $100 per one tenth of a gram commonly referred to as a 'point'."

On July 28 this year, police searched several homes Sulusi was known to visit. He was found at one of the addresses, and inside his car was a hand bag which had a plastic bag filled with eight ounces (226g) of the drug concealed in its lining.

Sulusi was granted bail on the grounds of what Judge Rea called "significant health issues", including the need for for six-hour dialysis sessions three times a week. But Judge Rea said this would not excuse him of a jail sentence and said "a lengthy term of imprisonment is likely to follow".

"Normally, Mr Sulusi would not get bail," he said. "It needs to be borne in mind that there's really only one outcome to this, arrangements will need to be made for a full-time custodial sentence".

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