Drug busts show use on rise: officer

Two drug busts in Central Otago within a month involving large quantities of hard drugs highlight the increasing use of the substances in the Southern district, police say.

Four packages containing about $200,000 worth of what was believed to be MDMA (ecstasy), destined for unoccupied holiday homes in Clyde, was intercepted after  entering the country, Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said.

It was believed the packages were imported from Poland and each contained about 125g of MDMA. A 21-year-old Cromwell man appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday  on a charge  connected with the incident.

Earlier this month, two Clyde people were arrested after another drugs bust, which followed imported methamphetamine worth up to $14,000 being intercepted by Customs and a search of a Clyde home. A 22-year-old Clyde man is facing charges of importing methamphetamine, possessing the class A drug for supply and cultivating cannabis, while a 28-year-old Clyde woman faces a charge of cultivating cannabis.  Det Snr Sgt Inglis said  he was not aware of any link between the people involved in the two cases.

Talking generally about the problem of drugs, rather than those specific cases, he said the use of hard drugs was increasing in the Southern district. 

"Unfortunately, the use of these drugs is increasing across the country and the Southern police district is no exception. There’s always been a drug problem and now reasonably large quantities of these drugs are coming in, which is disturbing. These people don’t care where they sell it, so long as they can sell it, and that includes to teenagers and younger people.

"The unknown is what’s in some of these substances coming in."

The devastating effect of the drugs not just on users and in particular young people, but also on their families and the wider community was concerning,  Det Snr Sgt Inglis said. Crime driven by hard-drug users seeking money to pay for drugs was well-documented. Police would continue to target the importation of illegal drugs, he said.

● A man charged with importing class B-controlled MDMA into New Zealand between September 1 and October 13, in Clyde, appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday and was remanded on bail to a Cromwell address. He will reappear in the Alexandra District Court on December 6. Judge Mark Callaghan made an order for interim name suppression until November 10, so the defendant can inform his family of his arrest. 

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