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Gap year student sentenced to home detention

Gap year student sentenced to home detention

A 19-year-old man was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court today to 12 months’ home detention and 200 hours community service for importing almost 2.5 kilograms of class C drugs.

David Dunstan of Hamilton, a student taking a gap year, was arrested and charged last October after Customs intercepted a number of packages from China containing various substances used to make ecstasy and LSD mimic type drugs, including 25-NBOME, bk-MDMA or methylone, 2-C1, and Methoxy-DALT.

The packages were sent from China between August and October 2013 and labelled and attempted to be passed off as skin care products or cosmetic samples.

Customs Manager Border Operations, Shane Panettiere says Customs officers at the International Mail Centre are well aware of what to look for and do excellent work detecting illegal shipments across a wide range of commodities.

“Importing by mail or freight and labelling them as something else doesn’t mean that these drugs will go undetected. Regardless of the method of disguise during importation, Customs is committed to stopping these illicit substances crossing the border and harming our communities.”

“Customs examines a wide range of powders and liquids, and items are not released unless we are absolutely certain they are legitimate. Offences will be investigated, those involved will be caught and prosecuted,” says Mr Panettiere.

Customs’ investigators identified that Dunstan had been the sole importer of the drugs, but had used the addresses of acquaintances to receive packages. The acquaintances were unaware of the contents of the packages and handed them over to Dunstan.

Dunstan received the maximum home detention sentence that can be handed out due to personal factors such as his age, previous good character, and the fact the he had not made any significant financial gain. According to Judge Thomas, Dunstan “escaped prison by a whisker”.

It is an offence against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to import a class C controlled drug into New Zealand. The maximum penalty, for importation of a class C controlled drug is 8 years’ imprisonment.


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