19 Dec 2016

Jail for dealer who dropped drugs while fleeing

5:33 pm on 19 December 2016

A drug dealer who dropped a large quantity of cash and drugs as he fled from police has been jailed for eight and a half years.

Coat of Arms inside the High Court in Rotorua

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

John Henderson, 50, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court on several charges, including possession of methamphetamine for supply, and cultivating and selling cannabis.

A jury had earlier found him guilty of the charges.

A police search of his home in 2015 revealed cannabis resin and a large amount of methamphetamine hidden in a polish can, along with $250,000 cash hidden in a couch.

Henderson ran away, and about $100,000 worth of methamphetamine and more than $300,000 in cash fell from his backpack as he was jumping over a neighbour's fence.

Judge Chris Tuohy said the drugs were found in Henderson's neighbour's compost heap, on the lawn and strewn along the road he ran down.

"There were two bricks of $100,000 and [the rest] was in bundles of $10,000 each. It is quite possible, indeed likely, that not all the cash and methamphetamine in your possession that day was dropped while you were running away."

In March, while on bail for that offending, police found cannabis at the house he was staying at and another $50,000 cash.

Crown lawyer Emma Light said Henderson's offending was not just a result of his own addiction, as he referred to enjoying having nice things.

"He also showed a lack of insight into the effect this offending has on the community. It's a pernicious drug and Mr Henderson has experienced himself the impact it has on those dependent on it."

However Henderson's lawyer, John Miller, said his client had a longstanding and serious substance abuse disorder, and asked the court to impose a sentence that gave him a realistic prospect of being able to rehabilitate himself.

"[There are] good prospects for this man. Given the fact that he's now in a drug-free environment, he can move ahead. I would submit there should be some light at the end of the tunnel and not such a crushing sentence that rehabilitation prospects are seen as futile."

Mr Miller said Henderson's house showed he was not living like 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'.

Judge Tuohy told Henderson that methamphetamine impoverished those addicted to it and caused crimes such as burglary, violence and family breakdown.

He said the defence's suggestion that Henderson was only dealing to fund his own drug habit was implausible.

"I don't accept the cash is a red herring. Mr Miller seeks to explain it on the basis that it wasn't your cash. You owed it to your supplier. But it indicates sales of a much greater weight than was in your possession. There is no other explanation for you having more than $300,000 in cash.

"You were dealing on a substantial scale as well as supplying your addiction, which could only have accounted for a small amount of what you had."

Henderson's son, Wiremu Henderson, was jailed in October for four years and three months, after a jury found him guilty of possessing methamphetamine and psychoactive substances for supply.

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