A young mum with no previous criminal record has been sent to prison for three years and four months for her role in a major Hawke's Bay methamphetamine ring.

Hine Wikohika didn't earn a cent from supplying half a kilogram of meth, and claimed in the Napier District Court she couldn't say no to the men at the top of the ring — her brother and her partner.

Wikohika was looking after four children and holding down two jobs as the only wage-earner in the household when she was directed to deal the large supply of drugs in July and August, 2017.

She said she was told if it went wrong, the onus would be all on the others.


Judge Geoff Rea said at sentencing on Friday there was no suggestion she obtained any benefit from her seven offences, combined into a representative charge.

But it did go wrong, he said, and the onus wasn't all on the others.

Rea said Wikohika, one of the targets of organised crime investigation Operation Lariat, wasn't the usual type of person appearing before the court.

Operation Lariat peaked in mid-September last year with the arrests of 13 people and seizure of 3kgs of methamphetamine, 2200 LSD tabs, eight firearms, six newer-model vehicles, a Harley Davidson motorbike, and $343,000 in cash.

Wihohika's brother, Shane Thompson, was in June sentenced to 13 years in prison as head of an enterprise reputed to have dealt in methamphetamine worth at least $2.5 million at street level, and her partner Freeman Babbington was also sent to jail.

Defence counsel Matthew Phelps said Thompson and Wikohika's partner "weren't someone you say no to", and she had "clearly" come under pressure to be involved.

Phelps said in addition to her household responsibilities, all evidence pointed to her being a good mother and a hard worker.

The lack of a criminal past, her good character and a guilty plea saw Rea step the penalty down from what could have been about 10 years' jail.


While admitting her part, Wikohika had disputed some of the facts, before the judge determined that she had been directly involved in supplying 445.25 grams of methamphetamine, including 340g (12 ounces) for safe storage, and roles in supplying a further 91g.

Phelps said later he would consider appealing the sentence.