Meth dealer scores home detention
A man who used codenames including ‘‘garlic bread’’ and ‘‘chicken’’ to sell cannabis and methamphetamine is off drugs for the first time in years, a court has heard.
Blenheim man Charles Wiremu Maru sold the drugs 16 times last September and October, a police summary of facts said.
He was selling the drugs to pay for his own drug habit, his lawyer Rob Harrison said at his sentencing at the Blenheim District Court on Tuesday.
But since being charged Maru had passed several urine tests, Harrison said.
Police said they first became aware Maru was selling drugs in September last year and began monitoring his text messages.
The 36-year-old would sometimes text people to tell them he had drugs to sell, and sometimes people would text Maru to ask if he was selling a particular drug.
‘‘Do you want a tin?’’ Maru asked a friend on September 20, the summary said. The word tin, or tinny, was widely used to describe 1 to 2 grams of cannabis wrapped in tin foil, which usually sold for $20, the summary said.
From there, codenames became more creative. On September 29, a person asked Maru for ‘‘toast’’, which referred to cannabis, and another asked for ‘‘puff’’, which referred to methamphetamine, police said.
They settled on a price of $550 for half a gram of methamphetamine.
Later, the same person asked if he could get a ‘‘Q’’, or a quarter gram of methamphetamine, police said.
On October 2, Maru text messaged a person to say he was trying to sell ‘‘ding’’. ’’Is da garlic bread a good size?’’ the person asked.
‘‘Skunk,’’ Maru replied. Skunk was a type of cannabis grown under indoor lights, police said.
Maru sold cannabis and methamphetamine on eight other occasions during October using terms such as ’’pool que’’ and ‘‘chicken’’ in reference to methamphetamine.
When spoken to by police, Maru admitted he was using codenames.
He admitted six charges of offering to sell methamphetamine, and 10 of offering to sell cannabis in February and appeared for sentencing on Tuesday.
Maru had no recent drug offences in the last decade and nothing involving methamphetamine.
Maru had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years but had been clean for five months, Harrison said.
An alcohol and drug report said Maru was determined to change, and showed interest in attending a residential rehabilitation programme, Harrison said.
‘‘I’m bolstered by the suggestion you are doing something about it,’’ Judge David Ruth said.
‘‘That tells me you have been making some progress towards an eventual rehabilitation.’’
Quitting drugs ‘‘wiped out’’ Maru’s motivation to sell them, Judge Ruth said.
But after giving credit for a guilty plea Judge Ruth settled on a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, converted to nine months’ home detention.