Two lower-level players in a Hawke's Bay methamphetamine network, which involved hundreds of thousands of dollars, have received home detention sentences as a judge took newly guided account of the role of addictions in methamphetamine offending, during an historic afternoon in the Napier District Court.
They were among five who appeared relating to the major police Eastern District Organised Crime Unit investigation Operation Chrome, which ended with several searches of mainly Napier properties in the last week of October last year.
They are the first to appear since last week's delivery of the Court of Appeal's Zhang decision reviewing the scale of available penalties, previously based on a decision made in 2005.
The new guidelines enable greater consideration of people's involvement because of addictions, as opposed to the profit scales of the big dealers.
During Operation Chrome, police became aware $250,000 was stolen from a "safe house" set up by the operation to store methamphetamine stocks and cash, and when it wound up the operation they seized more than $270,000.
Judge Geoff Rea commented on Friday the quick re-establishment of a cash pool highlighted the scale of the dealing.
It was estimated to have involved at least 6kg of methamphetamine, some of it which had to be "cleaned" because it was of lower quality.
Sentenced separately in court yesterday were Hastings man Callan Dane Curtis, who had no previous convictions 46, of Hastings, and Napier woman Angela Louise Johnson.
They were each sentenced to nine months' home detention.
Neither was connected to the cash finds, but each pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to supply drugs, while Johnson also admitted also allowing premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.
The appearance by Curtis involved a supporting presentation from kaumātua Des Ratima, who said he had known Curtis for many years, but became aware of his "involvement in this" since the arrest, since which his friend had done everything possible to rehabilitate, including self-referral for treatment.
"He's now in a very good space," Ratima said.
It was suggested his role had been largely out of loyalty to friends.
Curtis had driven an alleged primary offender to Auckland for the network's "reload" on September 22 last year. When unavailable to assist 12 days later, he allowed his car to be used by another participant. He also delivered "product" and collected cash for another primary offender, a summary said.
But he was not paid cash, instead being remunerated with "product" to feed his addiction.
Johnson had been an addict for more than 20 years, and assisted a primary offender attempting to "clean" inferior product, using the internet to find instructions and then buying chemicals required. She also allowed him to cultivate cannabis at her home.