Four people involved in a methamphetamine operation run from a central Wellington apartment are tonight beginning jail terms ranging from 17 years to three and a half years.
Kevin Chea was sentenced in the High Court in Wellington this afternoon, having earlier been found guilty of importing and supplying a Class A drug, along with receiving stolen property.
Kien Dao, who the Crown described as Chea's lieutenant was jailed for 15 years on similar charges.
Michael Debreceny, who was found guilty of one charge of importing a Class A drug, was jailed for nine and a half years.
Chea's girlfriend, Abby Cummins, who was found guilty of one charge of possession of methamphetamine for supply was jailed for three and a half years.
The methamphetamine was brought into New Zealand in green-coloured plaster blocks labelled as "green jade".
It was then reprocessed in the kitchen in the Chews Lane apartment to retrieve the drugs hidden in the blocks.
Justice Dobson said, while the four offenders may have turned a blind eye to the effects of their drug dealing, sentencing was a day of reckoning and they had to be held accountable for the harm they had caused.
He said judges were frequently exposed to the huge harm that methamphetamine causes to those who use it and those affected by the dangerous and irrational behaviour of users, in particular children exposed to those situations.
The Crown said Chea was the boss of the operation and Justice Dobson agreed, saying Dao acted on Chea's instructions in all aspects of the operation.
However Chea's lawyer, Tony Rickard-Simms, disputed that and said Chea was using one or two points of methamphetamine a day and surrounded himself with people who could get him the drug.
Dao's lawyer, Chris Tenet, asked for credit for his client - saying he should receive a lesser sentence than Chea, reflecting his lesser role in the operation.
He said, apart from living in the apartment where the drug was reprocessed, Dao was not making the money from the operation that Chea was.
Cummins' lawyer, Keith Jeffries, told the Court she was only responsible for a small portion of the drug found in her make-up compact and bedroom.
However, Justice Dobson said she was a willing participant in the lifestyle and easy cashflow that came with the selling of drugs.
He said the methamphetamine was reprocessed and sold in the apartment she lived in and it was only by a narrow margin that he was satisfied she was not in possession of material found in the common areas of the flat.
Justice Dobson ruled that Chea and Dao should serve at least 50 percent of their sentences.
That means Chea will spent at least eight and a half years in jail and Dao will spend at least seven and a half years in jail before being eligible for parole.