Queenstown cocaine dealer loses name suppression

A former Queenstown businessman convicted of dealing cocaine and ecstasy can be named after giving up his bid for permanent name suppression.

Joshua William Graham, 31, earned a lucrative secondary income selling the drugs for 14 months until police searched his Shotover Country home in March last year.

They found cocaine with an estimated street value of $11,250, ecstasy valued at $16,500 and $2820 in cash.

Graham was granted interim name suppression until his sentencing, on October 27, to five months’ home detention at a Dunedin address.

After Judge Russell Walker refused his application for permanent name suppression, Graham filed an appeal in the High Court.

The appeal has now been abandoned.

Graham told police he had bought the drugs in 1- or 2-ounce lots, selling some to friends and using the rest himself.

He charged up to $400 a gram for cocaine, and up to $300 a gram for ecstasy, and police estimated his total earnings at between $17,000 and $29,000 over the 14 months.

At sentencing, Judge Walker said Graham had been dealing "significant amounts" of cocaine and ecstasy, the offending having continued a "well-established pattern over many years", beginning after he left secondary school.

Starting with cannabis, he had moved on to cocaine and ecstasy for his own use and supply to others.

Cocaine use was on the rise in the resort town, with motorcycle gangs and overseas cartels continuing to flood the market, the New Zealand Herald reported this month.

Wastewater analysis showed Queenstown and central Auckland had consumed the most cocaine on a per capita basis in the past five years.

The increase in supply nationally was being driven by Mexican and South American cartels, often working in tandem with gangs with strong international ties, such as the Comancheros and Mongols.

However, despite the spike in demand for, and supply of, cocaine in recent years, methamphetamine remained by far the most popular drug nationwide.

Wastewater testing showed weekly consumption of meth was 16kg in June last year, compared with 2.3kg of cocaine.