A career con-man said to have imported almost half-a-kilogram of methamphetamine by ordering it via the internet has been sentenced by a Hawke's Bay judge to six years and eight months' jail.
The sentence was imposed when Napier man David Wayne Wratt, who turns 48 next Sunday, appeared in Napier District Court on Monday.
Wratt had pleaded guilty to a charge representing multiple offences of importing methamphetamine dating back to early September 2017.
Being caught wasn't enough to stop him, and Wratt was to spend 18 months in custody after his bail was revoked following more offences in which he had methamphetamine sent to addresses near to where he had been bailed in Dunedin.
When one of the packages did not arrive he rang couriers Post Haste to request delivery, and while giving a false name provided his cellphone number.
While Wratt hadn't previously been before the courts for drugs offences, the repeated offences followed a pattern identified by Judge Geoff Rea in court in June, when he looked at Wratt's previous record and said: "He has 77 convictions for dishonesty and there's hardly a way left that he hasn't tried to rip his fellow citizens off."
The court was told the amount known to have been imported by Wratt totalled 452 grams, some of which was effectively lost when packaging split open as it was tossed from a vehicle during a getaway attempt.
A summary said four packages of methamphetamine imported by Wratt between September 8, 2017, and March 2, 2018, were intercepted by Customs.
The first addressed to an address in Marine Parade, Napier, comprised a router and modem which had been found to contain 236g of methamphetamine, of which police removed all but 10g, replacing the rest with a substance of similar appearance.
The package was delivered to the address on September 18, 2017, and accepted by a man to whom it had been addressed, but a tamper alarm alerted police who after a short pursuit stopped a vehicle carrying the two men near Awatoto.
Unable to find the router in the vehicle, police discovered it on one side of the road through which the pursuit had passed, and on the other side a trail of of the methamphetamine and substitute substance and the plastic bag in which it had been contained.
Wratt was arrested and remained in custody until October 20 when he was granted bail to live at an address in Dunedin.
But he was soon identified as being back in the game after another package was sent to a neighbouring address.
Wratt's intention to intercept the package was thwarted after it was retained by couriers because no one was at the property.
In January 2018 another package was sent to an address across the road from where Wratt had been staying, but delivery was unable to be completed because no one at the address knew anyone of the name to whom it had been addressed.
Customs had examined the contents by the time Wratt contacted the couriers asking for it to be delivered, and five weeks later another package was intercepted by Customs destined for a Hastings address in the name of a former Hastings man, who was identified by police as a Facebook friend of Wratt but by that stage living in Australia.
Defence counsel Nicola Graham said it was the first time she'd heard of anyone ordering methamphetamine via the internet, referred to by Judge Rea as "the dark web".
Graham regarded it as "unsophisticated" offending evidenced by Wratt's provision of his address and phone number when trying to have one of the packages delivered, and argued the offences were driven by Wratt's own addiction.