Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Flight attendant hid drugs in uniform jacket

Douglas Reimer in the Manukau District Court today. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Douglas Reimer in the Manukau District Court today. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A flight attendant who worked for Air New Zealand for 24 years has been charged with bringing 25 grams of methamphetamine into the country concealed in his uniform jacket.

Douglas Wayne Reimer, 49, appeared in the Manukau District Court today facing the charge of importing methamphetamine.

The former flight attendant previously appeared in court in May when he was granted interim name suppression because his father was terminally ill.

Suppression was lifted today and defence lawyer Bruce Hesketh said his client's father had now died, and Reimer did not want to cast suspicion over his former colleagues.

Court documents show police allege Reimer arrived off a flight from Los Angeles at Auckland International Airport at 6am on May 15.

He signed an air crew declaration form, declaring he was not bringing any illegal goods in to New Zealand.

He went through Customs where he was subject to a "second intervention" and his baggage was selected to be x-rayed, the police summary of facts said.

The x-ray showed a concealment within the uniform jacket he had been wearing on the flight.

Police allege that on further inspection, a customs officer found two zip-lock bags within the jacket containing crystal methamphetamine with a street value of $581.

Reimer said he had been approached by a man in Los Angeles, from whom he bought the drugs.

Police said Reimer told them he then went back to his hotel room, where he made the concealment within his jacket.

Reimer often worked long-haul flights between New Zealand and The United States, and was in the position of in-flight co-ordinator, court documents say.

A Customs spokeswoman said in a statement that Customs screens cabin crew like all other passengers.

"Customs processing [for cabin crew] is the same.

"For example, a crew member may be questioned by Customs as a result of a profiling assessment or a dog indication."

Air New Zealand would not comment on the specific case because it is before the courts.

It said in a statement that there is a strict drug and alcohol policy for staff.

"For obvious safety and security reasons, Air New Zealand has a very clear and strict alcohol and other drug policy including zero blood alcohol levels while at work.

"Employees in safety sensitive roles are required to undergo random alcohol and other drug testing."

Reimer did not enter a plea and will be back in Manukau District Court in September. He was released on bail.

The maximum penalty for importing methamphetamine into New Zealand is life imprisonment.


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