Jail time looms for flood death party host

Shan Owen, right, wears an ankle bracelet during the rescue effort. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Shan Owen, right, wears an ankle bracelet during the rescue effort. Photo / Peter de Graaf

The host of last weekend's ill-fated Northland party where a Wellington mum drowned is facing jail for his role in an organised drug syndicate.

Shan Edward Owen last week pleaded guilty to 11 charges of possession, supply and conspiracy to deal methamphetamine when he appeared in the Whangarei District Court.

Police confirmed that Owen was being electronically monitored when Talia Smith drowned in floodwaters after trying to return to the party from her partially submerged car.

The 28-year-old's funeral was held on Thursday at an Upper Hutt marae. She was buried next to her mother at Akatarawa Cemetery.

About 30 people had travelled from around the North Island to the rented Lily Pond Farm property before Owen's court appearance on drugs charges.

The all-night party was his "going away party" before he was to admit his part in a Wellington methamphetamine ring, local sources confirmed.

The serious drug charges carry lengthy jail times of 14 years and life.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said Operation Marian netted Owen in 2010 as a second-tier drug dealer who was in Wellington from the north to supply the ring.

According to the agreed summary of facts, Owen supplied 18g of methamphetamine in a four-day surveillance period.

While trying to evade arrest after a drug deal at a Paekakariki house, he dumped thousands of dollars worth of drugs into a garden.

Police recovered 5.5g of methamphetamine from the vegetation and more than $4000 in the glovebox of his car.

Owen is due to appear in the Wellington District Court this month for sentencing.

- Herald on Sunday

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