A loaded sawn-off shotgun, a stash of drugs, $14,000 cash and two air rifles were some of the gear found in a vehicle driven by a man described as a serious drug dealer who will now spend at least three years in jail.

Marshall James Dennis Joyce, 39, a grandfather, was stopped by an observant police officer while taking an early morning drive through Whangārei in October 2015.

The officer's suspicions were raised when the licence plate did not match the vehicle and it was stopped near the Maunu Rd lights about 3am. A search of the vehicle revealed all the equipment of a drug dealer including an ammunition press, tick books, a knife and a bag of gold jewellery.

Joyce was subsequently found guilty by a jury of possession of 28gm of methamphetamine, possession of 15gm of cannabis, possession of a firearm, two charges of possession of two air rifles, six charges of offering to supply methamphetamine and three charges of supplying methamphetamine.


He appeared for sentence in the Whangārei District Court this week. Judge Brooke Gibson appeared by a video link from Kaikohe Court as Joyce stood in the dock at Whangārei Courthouse.

"Clearly, this was a serious drug dealer fully equipped and ready to go. You were going about your business fully armed with a loaded firearm," Judge Gibson said.

"Over the last few years you have been receiving a benefit from the Government, supplementing your income through methamphetamine dealing. Or it may well be the other way round."

Judge Gibson expressed concern over the loaded firearm and said it was a serious charge.

Joyce said the reason he was dealing drugs was because of his own drug addiction.

"You haven't got a lot to show for your life but a list of criminal convictions. You don't own your own home and now face a custodial sentence that will be relatively lengthy,'' the judge said.

"I hope you reflect while in jail and take steps to dissociate from the antisocial elements of your life and address your methamphetamine addiction. If you don't you will slip into a pattern of offending and I hope that doesn't occur."

Judge Gibson said if Joyce was released on parole after serving a third of his sentence it would not be sufficient to denounce his actions or deter others or protect the community.


She said Joyce should serve at least half the prison term he was sentenced to, meaning he will have to serve at least three of the six years jail he was sentenced to.