Half a million producers get out of jail early

The man behind a $500,000 cannabis ring in Dunedin has been granted parole with two years remaining in prison.

Quintin Frances Corkery (37) was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for growing and selling class C drugs when he appeared in Dunedin District Court in April last year.

At a hearing last month, the parole board heard the man was a minimum-security prisoner with no incidents of misconduct to his name.

The Otago Correctional Facility inmate spoke about the impact of his offense on his family and concluded that “smoking takes his life”.

“Mr. Corkery identified his high-risk situations and how he would handle them, and spoke well about his proposed release,” said panel moderator Mary More.

“He told us that he learned that rehabilitation opens a highway on his brain, and that repeating or supporting the treatment he has already undertaken will open that highway even more.”

A police investigation dealt its first blow to the Corkery business in July 2020 when officers uncovered a cannabis crop worth up to $43,000 from a Sidey St home, along with $7,600 of cultivation accessories.

They intercepted his communications, which showed he had offered an associate $20,000 to take the blame.

When officers raided a flat in Union St East days after the first raid, they discovered the scale of Corkery’s ambitions.

Every room of the rented property, in the middle of the city’s student sector, had been used for cultivation, including the roof cavity, the court heard.

In total, there were 353 factories, with a potential value of almost $500,000.

Corkery regularly discussed the cloning of mother plants and boasted of having 13 different breeds in the apartment.

Intercepted conversations also found him talking about storing the drugs in a mobile food caravan he owned.

He sold over $10,000 worth of cannabis in the seven months before his arrest.

The parole board noted that Corkery had a criminal record dating back nearly 20 years, including convictions for driving, weapons, burglary and other property offences.

Ms More said his risk could be managed at the rehabilitation center he was released to this week.

Conditions of parole included. —

– Attend any treatment as directed.

– Do not possess alcohol or non-prescription drugs.

– Participate in a treatment program and respect the rules.

– Comply with the rental rules of the accommodation provider.

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