Otago pharmacy student faces more drugs charges

The 21-year-old University of Otago student latest charges include possessing the class-C drug amphetamine, possessing steroids and supplying steroids. Photo / File Photos
The 21-year-old University of Otago student latest charges include possessing the class-C drug amphetamine, possessing steroids and supplying steroids. Photo / File Photos

An Otago pharmacy student is being held in custody after being charged with possession of amphetamine and steroids while on bail awaiting trial for other drugs charges.

The 21-year-old University of Otago student has been granted interim name suppression in relation to his latest charges - one count of possessing the class-C drug amphetamine, two counts of possessing steroids and one count of supplying steroids.

He did not enter pleas on any of the charges when he appeared before Judge Michael Turner in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

Police allege the student, who is in the final year of a pharmacy degree, was in possession of more than 600g of amphetamine, with a street value of $125,000, and dozens of vials of steroids.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Knox said the student could face more charges after a search of his vehicle uncovered a further 80g of amphetamine and an as yet unidentified yellow liquid in an alternator imported from Hong Kong.

Defence counsel John Westgate said his client had no criminal convictions and denied that the substance was amphetamine.His client told him that ESR testing would reveal "it won't be what police think it is", Mr Westgate told Judge Turner.

He asked for bail for the student as the charges against the young man were "speculative" and those related to steroids carried maximum sentences of only six months' and three months' jail.

Sgt Knox said a detective with 15 years' experience carried out the preliminary test, which showed amphetamine or an analogue.

"In his whole experience he's never had a different result from ESR to the finding of that test."

Judge Turner remanded the student in custody because of the risk of further reoffending.

The offending came to light when a member of the public discovered a PVC pipe containing the amphetamine and vials of steroids in a bush near the student's Belleknowes home.

Police were called, collected the pipe - on which the defendant's fingerprints were found - and later executed a search warrant at New Zealand Post in Dunedin, where two packages addressed to the defendant were discovered.

One package contained more steroids and the other more than $700 in cash hidden in a PlayStation game case.

Police were still awaiting the final results of ESR analysis of the pipe's contents, which could take six to eight weeks.

The defendant's bedroom contained capsules similar to those containing amphetamine found in the PVC pipe as well as vials, Judge Turner said.

"The strength of the evidence, on the face of it, is strong."

Judge Turner described the defendant's claim that the material in the PVC pipe was not amphetamine as a "two-edged sword" as it tied the student to the material.

The alleged offending occurred while the student was on bail for other drug charges.

He will stand trial in November for supplying steroids, MDMA and ethylone.

He is next due in court on September 13.

- Otago Daily Times

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