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A former teacher at Napier Boys' High School was today jailed for nine years for manufacturing ecstasy and a form of methamphetamine.

His cousin and partner in crime was also sentenced to nine years, plus one year for producing pseudephredine, used to make speed or methamphetamine, while he was on bail in July last year.

Former science teacher Reuben John Martin, 31, and 32-year-old tannery salesman Adam Lee McHardy appeared in the High Court at Napier for sentencing on charges of manufacturing a Class A drug, namely MDA or ecstasy, a Class B drug, MDMA or ecstasy, and a Class C drug, amphetamine trimethoxyample, between January 1 2000 and April 19 2002.

They pleaded guilty to the charges on August 11.

The drug lab masquerading as a garage at Martin's Osier Road home in Greenmeadows is understood to be the largest ecstasy manufacturing lab discovered in New Zealand.

Class A and B ecstasy tablets were sold for $60 to $100 a tablet. The Environmental Science and Research (ESR) estimated the lab would have been capable of producing at least 1.5kg of ecstasy, equating to 15,000 capsules, worth between $900,000 and $1.5 million.

Scientists spent three days examining the garage, which was full of chemicals including safrole, the main ingredient in manufacturing MDA, Class A ecstasy, or MDMA, Class B ecstasy.

McHardy had been posing as his employer's research and development officer in order to purchase chemicals which could be used to manufacture drugs.

Between December 1999 and April 2002 he bought $31,000 worth of chemicals and equipment, making bogus statements to the suppliers about his intended use of the chemicals.

Martin also bought $17,000 worth of chemicals through his job, and falsified documents for suppliers, the court heard.

Martin's defence counsel Steve Manning told Justice Goddard that Martin's use of steroids had provided his introduction to making ecstasy.

- HAWKE'S BAY TODAY