Dealer sentenced on 61 charges
Arranging drug deals through text messages proved to be the downfall of a Far North man sentenced on 61 charges relating to possession and selling cannabis and LSD.
Home detention was rejected and a two-and-a-half year custodial sentence imposed on Samuel Louie Knutson, 25, a labourer of Kaeo, in the High Court in Whangarei yesterday.
He pleaded guilty to the charges last month.
Knutson was targeted during a Kaikohe police operation on drug dealers in the mid-north between October and April.
Text messages concerning drug transactions were captured by police after they filed a search warrant to view the text messages.
In text conversations, Knutson was regularly purchasing large quantities of cannabis - almost weekly- and made arrangements to sell them in small amounts for profit.
He was sourcing other types of controlled drugs, such as 10 tabs of LSD, from his associates and offering them for sale.
Police searched his home in Kaeo on April 5, and his cellphone and 44 grams of cannabis plant material were seized.
Knutson admitted sending text messages but denied buying large amounts of cannabis and LSD and he denied selling the latter.
About half of the offers to sell went through, due to the unreliability of the buyers, he said.
He admitted acting as a middleman and arranging drug deals between various parties and said he sold drugs to make money to support his own drug habit.
Crown prosecutor Mike Smith said more than 2.7kg of cannabis was offered for sale by Knutson over a five-month period and because of this community and personal deterrence was warranted.
Defence lawyer Doug Blaikie said his client was extremely candid and open to police when questioned and that the level of supply was not high.
Knutson had no previous convictions and had stopped using cannabis since the day he was arrested, he said.
Justice Lynton Stevens said there was no evidence to suggest Knutson was now drug-free.
He said the aggravating features were the extent of damage and harm Knutson's actions inflicted on society and the premeditation involved.
He fixed a starting point of three years for the lead charge of offering to supply cannabis but reduced it by six months.
Imran Ali | 19th October 2009