Student arrested in police drugs inquiry

A $200,000 drug bust has led to the arrest of a 21-year-old student.

Operation Lizard has targeted a suspected ecstasy ring in Dunedin and Queenstown, with police uncovering 1kg of class C drug ethylone, Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis, of the Southern district organised crime squad, says.

The drug, which has a street value of $200,000 per kg, mimicked the effects of ecstasy and was often marketed as its class B counterpart.

''It's a dangerous drug because it's not what it's made out to be,'' Det Snr Sgt Inglis said.

The 21-year-old was charged with one count of importing ethylone and one of supplying ecstasy.

He appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday and was remanded on bail without plea.

Further charges were likely and other people had come under the microscope during the joint police and Customs operation, Det Snr Sgt Inglis said.

''It's another sad situation of young people getting involved in the drug industry,'' he said.

''They don't know what they are getting into.''

The drugs were sourced via the internet and came to the attention of authorities after Customs seizures at the border.

The arrest came after four search warrants were executed in Dunedin and Queenstown this week.

The 21-year-old would appear in the Queenstown District Court next month.

''The message we want to send out is get your degree, don't get into drugs,'' Det Snr Sgt Inglis said.

Detective Hamish Barrons, of the organised crime squad, said young people who became involved in the drug trade were risking their future.

''This is yet another case of a young man taking a huge gamble with his future and risking everything for the chance to make easy money.''


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