A man who features in an advertising campaign for Fonterra's Anchor brand is one of 13 people charged over a celebrity cocaine sting.
Benjamin Alexander McLellan appeared in court yesterday on charges related to the alleged cocaine ring.
The 35-year-old faces five charges of supplying cocaine and one of possessing methamphetamine. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and elected trial by jury during yesterday's appearance at Auckland District Court.
McLellan appears in an ad for Fonterra's biggest brand Anchor, together with his son. The video was released eight months ago.
Fonterra has declined to comment on the video.
The advertising campaign, titled 'Go Strong' was created by Colenso BBDO. At its launch international business director Rachel Morgan said "our new global platform centres on the thought that 'Goodness feeds Greatness'."
It features real New Zealanders telling their 'go strong' stories. In the two-minute clip, McLellan, described as a "young father", said he aims to teach his son "the ways that [I've] learnt, either to do or not to do".
McLellan and two others - Christopher Lay, a 41-year-old fashion designer, and Samuel James Montgomery, a 30-year-old clothing distributor - were named in court yesterday. The other two men have also pleaded not guilty.
The men were arrested as part of Operation Ceviche, which led to the seizure of 760g of cocaine, worth $300,000, and $81,000 cash in late August.
The covert investigation by the National Organised Crime Group initially focused on Anthony 'Ants' Nansen, a senior patched member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.
Police allege they uncovered the cocaine ring after monitoring Nansen. They alleged they were led to two others running their own "mini drug supply networks", Lay and a hairdresser.
Among their alleged clientele are a stockbroker, an executive, the boss of a large company, a recruitment agency owner, the husband of a TV actress and a personal trainer.
The alleged customers are named in court documents but have not been charged.