Matthew Stuart Grant (left), of Queenstown, and James
Alexander Grant, of Arrowtown, appear in the Queenstown
District Court yesterday. The pair admitted two charges
each laid under the Biosecurity Act 1993 in relation to a
scorpion smuggling ring in Queenstown. Photo supplied.
Two brothers boiled, crushed and then burned black rock
scorpions after learning the Ministry for Primary Industries
had seized an associate's scorpion smuggled into New Zealand
Matthew Stuart Grant (22), builder, of Queenstown, and James
Alexander Grant (24), electrician, of Arrowtown, will be
sentenced on November 18 after admitting charges under the
Biosecurity Act 1993 of possessing, selling and disposing of
Grant Fletcher, representing the Ministry for Primary
Industries, said Iszac Walters (23), of Sydney, smuggled six
of the scorpions into New Zealand through Christchurch
International Airport in February, supplying them to James
Four scorpions were supplied to Matthew Grant and the
remaining two were allegedly sold to a co-offender, yet to
appear before the court, for $300.
In April, MPI received information the alleged co-offender
was in possession of a live scorpion in his bedroom.
A search on April 19 unearthed a live scorpion in the
The defendant stated it was the only scorpion and he had
found it in a takeaway box at Queenstown Primary School and
decided to keep it.
An ultraviolet search was carried out at the school, which
tied up ''significant'' resources, but no scorpions were
Cellphone records indicated more people were aware of, or in
possession of, scorpions, resulting in a search of Matthew
and James Grant's addresses.
When interviewed, they stated Walters, an associate, had
smuggled the scorpions into New Zealand.
James Grant and Walters divided them into six takeaway
containers - two were given to Matthew Grant initially,
before he received two more, which were allegedly on-sold to
When the co-offender had his scorpion seized, the Grant
brothers ''disposed of their scorpions by boiling them,
crushing them and finally burning the remains''.
Judge Turner convicted both men and remanded them on bail
ahead of their sentencing.
He ordered a pre-sentence report to consider home and
community detention, but said it was ''no indication'' of the
MPI Canterbury compliance manager Peter Hyde said in a
statement yesterday afternoon expert advice indicated the
scorpions could have survived in New Zealand.
''We view this action as an exceptionally stupid thing to do,
especially in a region that is so important to New Zealand's
The maximum penalty for each of the charges is five years in
prison or a fine of $100,000.