A man has been charged after police intercepted more than $200,000 of the drug ecstasy destined for unoccupied holiday homes in the Clyde area.
Despite the major bust, police yesterday told the Herald there was nothing to suggest use of ecstasy was currently more prevalent in the Otago-Lakes Central area than anywhere else in New Zealand.
The Cromwell man, 21, appeared in the Queenstown District Court yesterday in relation to the importation of a class B drug.
Police said the drugs were believed to be MDMA (ecstasy) but were undergoing testing to confirm this.
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said about half a kilo of the drugs were found, with an estimated value of more than $200,000.
Police intercepted four packages destined to unoccupied holidays homes in the Clyde area, he said.
Each package contained approximately 125 grams of MDMA and Inglis said it was believed the packages were imported from Poland.
Judge Mark Callaghan made an order for interim name suppression until November 10 so the defendant could inform his family of his arrest.
"Police are disappointed to see young people thinking that this is an easy way to make money and having an adverse effect on their lives and others," Inglis said.
"Otago Lakes-Central Police will continue to target the illegal importation and sale of drugs in the area and continue to ask the public for their help in the fight to stop the spread of illegal drugs within their community.
"Police are hoping that these recent seizures will have an impact on the availability of drugs in the area."
Inglis said drugs were an issue for all communities, not just the Otago Lakes Central area, and ecstasy was no more prevalent there than any other part of the country.
"Police know that drugs cause social harm and are a significant driver of crime," he said.
"This is why police are committed to reducing the harm drugs cause by disrupting the supply chain."
The largest drug bust involving ecstasy in New Zealand was Operation Ark in 2011, which led to 10 men being charged and millions of dollars worth of assets seized following a year-long investigation.