Student caught in $200,000 drug bust


A 21-year-old student’s been arrested after a police operation targeted a suspected ecstasy ring in Dunedin and Queenstown.

Police said 1kg of class C drug ethylone – with a street value of about $200,000 – was uncovered as part of ‘Operation Lizard’.

The student’s arrest came after four search warrants were executed in Dunedin and Queenstown this week. 

Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis, of the Southern district organised crime squad, says the drugs were sourced via the internet and came to the attention of authorities after Customs seizures at the border. 

The 21-year-old was charged with one count of importing ethylone and one of supplying ecstasy.

He appeared in the Invercargill District Court on Friday and was remanded on bail without plea.

Inglis says other people had come under the microscope during the joint police and Customs operation and further charges are likely.

“It’s another sad situation of young people getting involved in the drug industry.

“They don’t know what they are getting into.” 

Ethylone mimicks the effects of ecstasy and is often marketed as its class B counterpart.

Inglis: “It’s a dangerous drug because it’s not what it’s made out to be.”

The 21-year-old will appear in the Queenstown District Court next month.

“The message we want to send out is get your degree, don’t get into drugs,” Inglis says.

Detective Hamish Barrons, of the organised crime squad, says young people who become involved in the drug trade are risking their future.

“This is yet another case of a young man taking a huge gamble with his future and risking everything for the chance to make easy money.”

Otago Daily Times