Four Wanaka men appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday (Monday) charged in relation to a Southern Police drug bust.
Southern Police arrested eight people on Sunday and searched 10 addresses in the Wanaka area as part of Operation Viking.
It targeted the flow of Class A and B drugs into the Wanaka are. Police seized large quantities of LSD, ecstasy and cannabis.
Daniel Miller, 29, Oscar Jimmy Gold Arlidge, 28, Daimon Jon Schwalger, 41, and Campbell Smith, 28, appeared before Judge David Holderness and were remanded without plea until December 16.
Plasterer Miller, of Hunter Crescent, Wanaka, faces 28 charges – including two charges of offering to supply Class A drug LSD, six charges of offering to sell or supply Class B drug ecstasy (MDMA) and 17 charges of offering to sell Class C drug cannabis.
Miller is also faces one charge of procuring MDMA, one charge of conspiring to sell a Class B drug, and one charge of conspiring to sell a Class C drug.
Miller did not make an application for bail and was remanded in custody.
Arlidge, of Russell Street, Wanaka, faces seven charges – including five of supplying LSD and two of supplying ecstasy.
Arlidge was also remanded in custody for two weeks after not making an application for bail.
Both Schwalger and Smith were granted bail, Smith’s subject to a bail address check. Schwalger faces two charges of offering to supply ecstasy.
Smith faces three charges after allegedly selling LSD to an undercover police officer, selling ecstasy to an undercover police officer on a separate occasion, and selling ecstasy to an associate.
Judge Holderness, summing up the summary of facts while considering Smith’s bail application, says Smith allegedly sold five tabs of LSD to the undercover officer on August 31 for $120, then four capsules of ecstasy on September 10 to the undercover officer for $240.
Judge Holderness says Smith allegedly admitted in police interview selling two capsules of ecstasy to a female, priced $60 each.
Four other people arrested are due to appear in Queenstown District Court at a later date.
They are aged from 19 to 49 years.
Police are still seeking to locate a number of others in relation to the operation, which identified large-scale dealings in LSD and Ecstasy.
The operation which kicked off in July included using undercover police officers in the Wanaka area to infiltrate the local drug scene.
As part of the operation Police have seized approximately $13,000 in cash, located several indoor and outdoor cannabis grows, hundreds of tabs, as well as other drugs yet to be analysed by ESR.
A police statement says officers identified several people working in Wanaka during the ski season who had been dealing in Class A and B drugs.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis, Southern District Organised Crime Squad, says: “There is significant evidence that these drugs are causing serious harm in our local communities.
“We know of people who, as a result of taking these kinds of drugs, have suffered serious mental health issues, to the point of wanting to take their own lives.
“These drugs are destined not only for the young people who are working in the ski or adventure sports industries, or participating in the rave scene, they are being used and abused by all social groups across our community.
“The alleged offenders involved choose to put their big lifestyle first, with no regard for the community harm and the wreckage that these drugs create in people’s lives.”
The arrests and charges are the culmination of several months’ work by the Otago Rural CIB staff supported by the Southern District Organised Crime Squad.
“There has been a huge amount of police work gone into this, including staff working long hours and weekends to achieve a result.
“This outcome is the result of dedication and commitment from our staff,” Inglis says.
Police say they are keen to hear from anyone with further information.
Contact Wanaka Police on 03 443 7272. Information can be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.