Man denies trips were to source drugs

A man who made five trips to Auckland between March and November 2020, posting 109g of methamphetamine and 28g of MDMA to his own address on one trip, said he was not sourcing drugs, a court heard this week.

The 33-year-old electrician, who has interim name suppression, appeared to defend a charge of possession of methamphetamine for supply at a judge alone trial before Judge Peter Rollo in the Invercargill District Court.

He has already pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug for supply (representative charge), possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamine, possession of MDMA for supply, two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, and two charges of unlawful possession of ammunition.

If Judge Rollo finds the man not guilty on the defended charge, he will be convicted of possession of a controlled drug as an alternative charge.

An admission of facts document says police started a comprehensive investigation into the suspected drug dealer in August 2020.

During March and November 2020, he travelled to Auckland five times, often booking late, either the day before travelling or on the day of travel.

On August 9, 2020, he booked a one-way flight to Auckland then drove from Auckland back to his Central Lakes home, crossing on the Interislander ferry the following day.

On November 4, 2020, the man and his partner flew to Auckland.

When questioned by defence counsel Roger Eagles yesterday, the man said he had made the November trip to do some electrical work for a friend.

While there, he was asked to buy a courier bag.

The man said he put one gift-wrapped package in the bag with another two being put in the courier bag by others. He did not know what was in the packages.

He then posted the bag back to his own address, although he said it was his partner who wrote the address on it, he said.

When the man and his partner returned home on November 6, he was arrested by police at the airport.

The admission of facts document says a search warrant was then executed on his property where police found a double-barrelled shotgun and pump action shotgun, both which had been illegally modified as well as 102g of cannabis head, 5.7g of methamphetamine and what police believed to be a "tick list".

"It contained the names of persons police believe to be purchasers. On this list were figures in the amounts of $65,250 and $54,000."

He refused to give police the access code to his cellphone.

The courier bag sent from Auckland was intercepted. In it police found two bags containing methamphetamine, one of 27.6g and the other 81.8g. The third bag contained 28g of MDMA.

While giving evidence, the man said packages were sent about four times to his home in the Queenstown-Lakes region by a friend in Auckland.

Although they were sent to his address, the man said it was another Queenstown-Lakes resident who would pick them up from his letterbox — he did not even see them.

There was only one time when he took the parcel out of the letterbox .

Just after the man had lost his job, his friend had given him $1000 then asked him to do a favour, delivering a parcel to Invercargill.

"I just helped out," he said.

It was on this occasion, in August 2020, he found out it was MDMA being sent.

"That was the last one I was involved with," he said.

Under cross-examination, Mike Brownlie asked the man if the trips to Auckland were to sort out the delivery of drugs.

The man replied no.

Judge Rollo reserved his decision and remanded the man in custody to appear on May 24. The judge ordered interim name suppression to continue until sentencing.



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