A Dunedin drug dealer who lived opposite a primary school has been charged and jailed

A Dunedin drug dealer whose home opposite a primary school was raided by police last year has been jailed.

Ricky Bailey, 35, was sentenced to two years four months’ imprisonment when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court earlier this week on charges of supplying methamphetamine, as well as possession of cannabis and possessing cannabis for supply.

The defendant said his use of the class-A drug increased when he “entered a dark place” after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis — a condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells.

However, counsel Nathan Laws told the court, it was later discovered Bailey did not have the autoimmune disease.

In February last year, police raided the defendant’s Pine Hill home, which is situated across the road from a school.

Bailey immediately led them to a shed at the back of the property.

It was set up with a social area; coffee mugs and a table, court documents said.

Evidence of the illicit trade was on full view.

On the table were four Snap Lock bags containing meth and one containing cannabis.

A backpack nearby held more of the class-A and C drugs, separated into deal bags, along with electronic scales and $3530 in cash.

In total, police seized 3.28g of methamphetamine and 19g of cannabis.

While there was strong evidence of Bailey’s dealing, analysis of his phone records solidified the case against him.

Between the end of 2019 and early 2020, he had supplied or offered to supply a range of associates on 18 occasions.

Though he had tried to disguise the enterprise through the use of coded language, Judge Jim Large said the lingo was commonly seen by the court.

“Clearly your sales were not erratic … there was a constant flow of sales or offers to supply meth,” he said.

“I take that to be serious,” Judge Large said.

Crown prosecutor Chris Bernhardt stressed that this occasion was not Bailey’s first time before the court on drug matters.

He was jailed for selling cannabis in 2006 and chalked up convictions for possession in 2009 and was before the court for carrying meth utensils in 2012.

The judge accepted Bailey had experienced a difficult upbringing which had led to him using drugs at 14.

“You have been dependent on substances for quite some time,” he said.

Laws said the defendant had strong family support, had been on bail for a year without breach and could benefit from rehabilitative programmes if subject to home detention.

But to do that, Judge Large had to reach a sentence below two years, and he could not.

He ordered confiscation of the cash found at Bailey’s home and destruction of the drug paraphernalia.

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