Cannabis seller on home detention

By Katie Holland

A 57-year-old Rotorua man who lived off the land has been sentenced to home detention after admitting selling cannabis.

Edmond Ngawhika was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court last week to six months' home detention after previously pleading guilty to two counts of possession of cannabis for sale and five counts of selling cannabis.

He was arrested last year as part of an undercover police operation targeting drug dealers in Rotorua.

Judge Phillip Cooper said Ngawhika sold $20 tinnies on five different occasions to undercover police officers who visited his property in September.

"The total circumstances indicated the property was operating as a tinny house that was being regularly restocked," said the judge.

When police executed a search warrant on October 19 they found $900 cash, mainly in $20 notes.

Ngawhika's lawyer Brian Foote said his client had chosen to be self-sufficient and live off his 2ha property, surviving by trapping possums, rearing calves and pigs and catching and selling whitebait.

However he sometimes struggled and sold cannabis.

Mr Foote said his client had now been to see Work and Income to get assistance.

He said his client used cannabis for severe arthritic pain, but he had put him in touch with a GP for other pain relief.

Mr Foote asked the judge that only half of the $900 be forfeited, as some was earned from selling whitebait for $20 per 200g.

Judge Cooper accepted this and ordered $460 to be forfeited.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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