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19-year old student arrested for importing drugs

The MDMA tablets
(approx 570) intercepted on 23 April 2013.
The MDMA tablets (approx 570) intercepted on 23 April 2013.

19-year old student arrested for importing drugs

A Palmerston North man was arrested today for the importation of controlled drugs following a joint Customs and Police operation.

The man, a 19-year old student, will appear in the Palmerston North District Court tomorrow (Thursday 25 April) charged with importing Class A and B controlled drugs.

The drugs, which were ordered online, have an estimated street value of between $14,000 and $28,000 NZD. The man received a package sent from Germany which contained approximately 560 tablets of the Class B controlled drug MDMA commonly known as Ecstasy.

A further parcel addressed to the man containing approximately 570 MDMA tablets was intercepted by Customs at the International Mail Centre yesterday. Three smaller parcels containing Cocaine, LSD, and MDMA were previously intercepted.

"Police and Customs officers executed a search warrant at the man's residential address this afternoon and we believe that he has been importing these drugs for the purpose of supply," says Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan, Officer in charge of Palmerston North CIB.

Customs Acting Group Manager Investigations and Response, Shane Panettiere says Customs is increasingly finding that packages containing small amounts of illicit drugs are linked to illegal overseas-based trading websites, such as Silk Road.

“Today’s arrest is a great example of our collaborative work with Police to detect such packages and link them to the people involved. It serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can buy illegal drugs online and get away with it.”

“Customs officers at the International Mail Centre are well aware of what to look for and will intercept illicit goods being mailed to New Zealand,” says Mr Panettiere. “Buying online doesn’t mean that you are exempt from the law, offenders will be apprehended and prosecuted.”

"Our joint work with Customs is vital in preventing and reducing crime and I want to reassure the public that we are committed to maintaining safer communities. We will continue to use every tool and piece of legislation we have available to us to come down hard on those who peddle drugs," says Detective Senior Sergeant Sheridan.

It is an offence against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to import a Class B Controlled Drug into New Zealand. The maximum sentence that can be imposed by the Courts for importation of a Class B Controlled Drug is Fourteen (14) years.

The maximum sentence for importing a Class A drug is life imprisonment.

The joint investigation is ongoing and further charges against the man are likely.

If you have information about drug cultivation, manufacture or supply rings please contact your local Police Station. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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