Teen’s gang­ster dreams lead to drug charges


A Porirua teen’s dreams of be­ing a high-fly­ing gang­ster will take him to court af­ter be­ing caught with a kilo­gram of syn­thetic drugs.

The 17-year-old from Can­nons Creek is be­ing held in cus­tody af­ter po­lice smelt cannabis at his house while check­ing he was stick­ing to bail con­di­tions on ear­lier charges.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Grant Fer­gu­son, of Ka¯piti-Mana po­lice, said of­fi­cers searched the place on Oc­to­ber 24 and found about a kilo­gram of syn­thetic drugs along with an empty bag of leaves from the dami­ana plant (a wild shrub from Mex­ico), a tin of ace­tone sol­vent and other in­stru­ments used to make the drug.

The ar­rest came just a month af­ter three young chil­dren, also from Porirua, were taken to Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal near-co­matose af­ter pos­si­bly eat­ing syn­thetic drugs by ac­ci­dent. They have since made full re­cov­er­ies.

Fer­gu­son said the teen, who was al­ready fac­ing charges in Porirua Dis­trict Court re­lated to firearms and syn­thetic drug sup­ply, was young and ego­tis­ti­cal.

‘‘At this level, it’s rare to find some­one so young and per­sis­tent. This par­tic­u­lar per­son has some grandiose ideas that are driv­ing their be­hav­iour - some sort of big Amer­i­can gang­ster sort of thing.’’

Syn­thetic drugs are ba­si­cally made by spray­ing chem­i­cals onto leaves, which can then be smoked.

The drug, typ­i­cally more po­tent and cheaper than cannabis is a grow­ing prob­lem na­tion­ally.

Of­fi­cers pre­vi­ously ex­e­cuted search war­rants at four prop­er­ties at Can­nons Creek in Septem­ber and found more than 2 kilo­grams of syn­thetic drugs as well as two shot­guns, a large amount of am­mu­ni­tion, two ri­fles and cash.

‘‘The harm as­so­ci­ated with them reaches far fur­ther than the phys­i­cal af­fects of the drugs them­selves and man­i­fests it­self in be­hav­iours such as fam­ily vi­o­lence,’’ Fer­gu­son said. ‘‘The area of most con­cern for me is the chil­dren and, as we have seen chil­dren as young as five have been af­fected by it.’’

Po­lice were work­ing with schools to ed­u­cate stu­dents about the risks, he said.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Neil Holden from the Welling­ton Child Pro­tec­tion Team said med­i­cal staff had told po­lice the chil­dren who in­gested the drug, fam­ily mem­bers aged 5, 8 and 13, had since made a full re­cov­ery.

‘‘Po­lice are still pro­gress­ing around how the chil­dren in­gested the sub­stance and hop­ing to re­solve this as prac­ti­cally pos­si­ble.’’

Syn­thetic drugs have killed about 20 peo­ple in New Zealand this year.

Grant Fer­gu­son

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