Jail sentence for 'street level' dealers

A teenage drug dealer embraced his tearful family in the Queenstown District Court yesterday after being sentenced to two years and two months' jail.

After delivering the sentence, Judge Michael Turner invited Monty Archie Vass (19) to ''say goodbye'' to his family.

Vass, a kitchen-hand, was one of three Wanaka ''street level'' drug dealers jailed yesterday afternoon.

Daniel Miller (30) was sentenced to two years and 10 months, while Daarian Akuhata Wira (18) was sentenced to 16 months.

All three were arrested in Operation Viking, carried out by the Southern Police District.

The five-month undercover operation targeted the flow of party drugs through the town.

Officers intercepted text messages and phone calls and set up stings using undercover police officers.

A total of eight men were arrested on December 1.

Vass pleaded guilty to 22 charges.

The lead charge was for selling 2g of class B prohibited drug MDMA, known as Ecstasy, to an undercover special operations constable for $900 on September 13.

Vass also admitted eight charges of offering to sell class C drug cannabis, seven charges of offering to sell class C drug Ritalin - normally used to treat attention deficit disorder - and other charges of procuring Ritalin, cannabis and MDMA, conspiring to sell MDMA, and twice offering to sell MDMA, all between July and October last year.

Judge Turner told Vass, ''When I sentence you today, I need to denounce your behaviour and deter you and others in the community from dealing drugs.

I also need to consider the protection of the community from you because drug dealing harms the community.''

Judge Turner made similar comments when sentencing both Miller and Wira.

The three cases were heard separately.

Miller, a plasterer, pleaded guilty to 27 charges relating to selling class A, B and C prohibited drugs.

All charges stemmed from intercepted and examined text messages, which detailed Miller offering to sell LSD on three occasions, as well as MDMA and various quantities of cannabis up to an ounce at a time.

He was also charged with procuring $150 worth of Ritalin and conspiracy to sell cannabis.

Wira was given leave to apply to vary his sentence to home detention.

A suitable address could not be found before his appearance yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of offering to sell class C drugs, Ritalin and cannabis, and one charge of offering to sell the class B drug MDMA.

He had been approached by an undercover officer in a Wanaka bar on September 5 and agreed to sell 1g of MDMA for $450, although the transaction never occurred.

Wira also admitted resisting arrest and threatening to injure a police officer on New Year's Eve.

Judge Turner also cancelled a previous community work sentence, sentenced Wira for breaching it and resentenced him on a burglary charge and a disorderly behaviour charge.

Judge Turner accepted all three men were street-level dealers, with Vass and Miller dealing to support their own drug habits.