The Manukau District Court sentenced a Maori to undergo a prison term of eight years and nine months on charges relating to manufacture and supply of methamphetamine, popularly known as the ‘P’ Drug.
Presiding Judge Dr Ajit Swaran Singh said in his sentencing notes at the Court on August 4 that the accused, Hepa Deer had committed the offences during various periods from February 12 and May 5, 2008.
The total quantity of methamphetamine involved was about 820 grams in all the offences, which included manufacturing, possessing and supplying of the drug on a commercial scale.
Judge Singh said each of the charges carried a maximum punishment of life imprisonment but he had taken into account a number of factors in his verdict.
These included nine handwritten references from the defendant’s whanau, a letter expressing remorse and apology, as well as his commitment to treatment at Odyssey House (a Centre for treatment of drug, alcohol and gambling addictions) based in Mt Eden in Auckland during the period of his bail earlier.
It is understood that Hepa had been charged as a part of a wide-ranging police inquiry codenamed Operation Leo which commenced in late 2007.
Following High Court interception warrants, the Police intercepted more than 110,000 telephone calls during the period covering February 12 and May 5, 2008.
According to the Sentencing Notes, the Police found 9.3 grams of methamphetamine, 79 zip lock bags and electronic scales, $8840 cash and 18 mobile phones.
Hepa was involved in drug deals of the ‘Killer Beez’ and ‘Tribesmen Gangs’ in the Manukau region.
Judge Singh said the defendant was a part of the Tribesmen Group, involved in the commercial sale of methamphetamine.
“In addition, he was involved in two serious offences of manufacturing methamphetamine and as a wholesale dealer, selling large amounts of the drug to other dealers,” he said.
Judge Singh said the jail sentence of eight years and six months was without non-parole period, and that the Parole Board would decide whether Hepa could be considered for parole within a third of the sentence period.
He sentenced him to five years on two charges relating to manufacturing of methamphetamine and to three others on a charge of possessing the drug. These terms of imprisonment would be concurrent.