A Tauranga father has had a house, car and cash seized by the court after admitting to dealing synthetic drugs.
Davey Terawi Toitoi, 37, who was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court on Tuesday earlier pleaded guilty to three charges relating to dealing and possessing synthetic cannabis and money laundering.
His partner Ana Maria Griffin, 38, also pleaded guilty to the same three charges and is due to be sentenced on February 27.
The court heard that between January 1 and July 4 last year, Toitoi and Griffin lived on Waimapu Pa Rd with their five children and two other family members.
Together they bought bulk amounts of synthetic cannabis and packaged it into smaller 1.3g bags to be sold for $30 a bag.
The couple let their friends and other family members know they had synthetic cannabis for sale and between January 1 and July 4 sold about 5.1kg, valued at $117,810.
Toitoi and Griffin spent $20,000 of the proceeds towards a Chrysler vehicle, registered under the name of Toitoi's nephew.
Another $57,000 was used to buy a house which was moved on to their property, the court heard.
During a search of their home on July 4, police found 50 ziplock bags in a freezer containing about 65g of synthetic cannabis, which if sold was worth about $1500.
A further 8kg of the drug was found inside the boot of a vehicle at the property which could have been sold for $184,000.
More than $40,000 cash was also found hidden in Toitoi and Griffin's bedroom, in a cabinet and inside some children's clothing.
Toitoi told police he was selling synthetic cannabis so he could afford to replace their 100-year-old house which was falling apart and no longer suitable for his kids to live in.
Toitoi also told police he had planned to pay for another house for his family.
His lawyer Jonathan Myers said this offending was a "significant fall from grace" for Toitoi, a "naive and simple man" who did not appreciate the harm he was causing and was remorseful.
"My client instructs that this offending arose out desperation and poverty rather than from greed, although it went beyond that by the time he was apprehended," he said.
Forfeiture orders were signed in the High Court last year for almost $41,000 in cash, the new house, and a car.
Judge Thomas Ingram told Toitoi "nothing less than a prison sentence could ever be appropriate".
"Everyone knows synthetic cannabis is illegal in this country and why. There have been a significant number of deaths linked to its use in the past two years," he said.
Judge Ingram said he accepted Toitoi was "completely remorseful" and also took into account his full admissions and co-operation with police.
"I accept you're not a person who cynically engaged in this type of offending and your motives were a good deal purer than most people coming before the courts.
"But this was clearly premeditated behaviour and I must take into account the harmful effects for the people who purchased these products from you."
Where the drug money went
$117,810 profit was made from selling about 5.1kg of synthetic cannabis between January 1 and July 4.
The defendants used the money for:
- $20,000 towards a Chrysler vehicle
- $57,000 to buy a relocatable house
- More than $40,000 cash was planned to be used for another house