A methamphetamine cook has been jailed for 12 years for making and dealing a drug that had caused unprecedented misery and destruction to New Zealand society.
Lee Richard Oswald Bell, 42, pleaded guilty to 36 charges that included manufacturing P, possession of P for supply, possession of precursors used to make P and possession of restricted weapons that included firearms, ammunition and pistols.
He was found in a car in Pakuranga last July with a loaded shotgun beside him, a rifle under the seat, a stun gun, cash, scales, stolen jewellery and counterfeit New Zealand driver's licences, the High Court at Auckland heard.
Police had been hunting him since he fled the High Court six months earlier after a judge refused him bail.
At his sentencing hearing yesterday Justice Rebecca Ellis ordered he serve at least six years of the jail term.
You have contributed to the suffering of others by supplying them with methamphetamine, she said.
Although his guilty plea saved the New Zealand taxpayer the cost of the trial, that had to be measured against the fact he continued to offend on bail.
Loaded guns were also found at some houses, including those where children lived.
Justice Ellis accepted Bell wasn't a small-time player but a lead actor who at certain time dealt in ounces of methamphetamine.
Bell denied the amount of P he was alleged by police to have sold.
He admitted supplying between 560g to 672g of P - and the court heard he had been given the benefit of the doubt when it came to the amount of the drug sold.
Justice Ellis said her own view was he probably supplied more than this. The drugs were thought to have a street value of between $250,000 and $500,000.
By Andrew Koubaridis
Wednesday Jun 23, 2010