81-year-old Tauranga man appears in court after Police find up to $260K worth of cannabis in his home

Headlines 28/07/2020

A particularly creative koroua from Tauranga has found himself in court after police uncovered a large scale cannabis operation in his home.

81-year-old John Banks Price pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, selling or supplying cannabis plant, and possession of cannabis plant for supply when he appeared in the Tauranga District Court before Judge Christopher Harding yesterday.

Price claims that he had been stockpiling cannabis with the intention of using the money earned from selling to pay for a wheelchair and a $100,000 back injury.

Police uncovered as many as 364 cannabis plants and multiple growing operations in a tent, a large shed and a ceiling cavity, as well as more than 2.7kg of cannabis head material. The value was between $21,000 and $30,000.

NZME states that "Based on estimated plant yields and the estimated price per ounce, police said Price could have yielded between $86,650 and $260,000 a year from his growing operation."

According to police, Price's cannabis-growing operation was "sophisticated and well-equipped", and the 364 plants he had grown were "well-nurtured and tended".

Price explained that the total set-up cost was at least $20,000 and over that time he had given cannabis away to his friends.

The man claims that he has not sold any of the goods as of yet, and he was instead waiting for later in the year when the price improved.

Price maintains that his intentions were to buy a $3500 wheelchair, and pay for a back operation that he estimated would cost around $100,000.

In court, Price confessed to the charges through his lawyer Paul Devoy. He was granted bail pending sentencing on September 14. He is not a first-time offender before the courts.

Credit to NZME for the story.