Drug scourge: top cop cracks down
‘‘We're trying our best to keep methamphetamine and other drugs out of the area.’’
Dunedin police’s former Southern District organised crime team leader has seemingly made it his mission to stamp out the influx of hard drugs into Queenstown and Central Otago in his new role based in the resort.
Otago Lakes Central’s Criminal Investigation Branch head, Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis, was well-known for leading some major busts in the Dunedin region and he’s already made his mark in this region’s war on drugs.
In Inglis’ latest sting, seven search warrants were executed with five people arrested in a threeday operation last week. The arrests related to supply of methamphetamine and cannabis crimes.
Three Queenstown, three Alexandra and one Wanaka address were searched. Two men and three women, aged between 21 and 46, have already appeared or would appear in the Queenstown or Alexandra district courts.
The address where methamphetamine was found was a Queenstown property.
‘‘It’s just part of our ongoing investigation into drugs in the area at the moment,’’ Inglis said.
‘‘We’re trying our best to keep methamphetamine and other drugs out of the area.
‘‘We’re certainly well aware of the harm meth does in the community.’’
Inglis joined Queenstown police in September after 38 years policing in Dunedin, and despite heading two other major drug busts last month, he denied being brought to the region specifically to target drugs.
Less than a month into his new role, Inglis led operations resulting in the seizure of more than 40 cannabis plants and a large amount of methamphetamine paraphernalia from a Clyde address, and the seizure of $200,000 worth of ecstasy in a separate bust in Clyde.
Asked if he was here specifically to target drugs, Inglis said: ‘‘No.’’
But drugs were ‘‘fairly prevalent’’, especially ecstasy, LSD, date rape drugs like ketamine and now methamphetamine. ‘‘They are all a concern,’’ he said.
It would depend on ‘‘who comes into town’’ as to what was around, but Inglis said meth was becoming a real concern for the region.
‘‘All of a sudden you can see a spike because of who’s around.’’
Christchurch gangs and people from ’’up north’’ were the main suppliers into Queenstown and Central Otago, usually by road or through the post, he said.
Seizures at Queenstown Airport had been steady since 2011, where an average of about 26 interceptions per year were recorded, Official Information Act documents show.
The most common seizures, aside from prescription medication, were non-prescribed controlled medicines and cannabis.
Up until September this year, 13 interceptions had been made at the airport, including six of prescription drugs and four of cannabis.
Last year there was one instance of methamphetamine.
A manhunt from Roxburgh which ended with road spikes at the Clyde Dam last Thursday night was unrelated, and inquiries were continuing, Inglis said.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis.