Text revealed willingness to swap shotgun for meth

Aidan Hight
Aidan Hight
A South Otago man’s text messages revealed he was willing to swap a shotgun for methamphetamine, a court has heard.

Aidan William Hight was one of several people arrested during a crackdown on the class-A drug trade in Balclutha and its surrounds last year.

The 24-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday on a raft of methamphetamine and cannabis charges.

And it was not the first time he had come before Judge Kevin Phillips.

In April 2016, he was sentenced to eight months’ home detention and 200 hours’ community work by the same judge on 30 cannabis charges.

And it came with a warning.

Any further drug dealing would make prison "absolutely inevitable", the judge said at the time.

Yesterday, he followed through.

He sentenced Hight to 22 months’ imprisonment and admonished him for not taking advantage of the court’s compassionate approach previously.

"You were treated leniently and it didn’t seem to have an impact upon you," the judge said.

"Your addiction to stimulants and other drugs including methamphetamine needs to be dealt to or you’ll be back before the court and you can’t expect mercy if you are."

The court heard Hight was buying a couple of grams of methamphetamine at a time for about $800 a gram, then cutting the drug with other products and reselling it.

Defence counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said her client was involved in the trade to sustain his own habit.

"It’s certainly not Mr Asia," she said at a previous hearing.

While she suggested the commercial aspect was at a low level, Judge Phillips was cynical.

"You were prepared to sell in the market to get money to feed your addiction. That’s just as commercial as someone selling it on the street. The income is used for your own purpose," he said.

"Particularly alarming",  was the text message offer by Hight to swap a shotgun for meth.

It was unclear whether the trade happened.

Hight had spent some months in custody since his arrest last year and Ms Saunderson-Warner said he had reflected on the issues that landed him there.

She said his goal was to get out, to live with his father and get work on a farm.

Wiremu Miller (24), who was arrested in the same drug bust, was jailed for two years, seven months when  sentenced last month.

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