An operating pill press, performance and image enhancing drugs, prescription medicines and a large sum of cash were amongst items seized in a series of inter-agency searches of properties across the country this week.
Waikato crime services supervisor Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall says the searches of properties in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch were carried out by Police, Customs and Medsafe investigators as part of Operation Adder.
“Operation Adder involved staff from each of the Government agencies and centred on the investigation into a group who are alleged to have been importing the illicit drugs 4MEC and MDPV, performance and image enhancing drugs and prescription medicines.
“These commodities are pressed into pills or repackaged and sold to customers across the country for considerable profit.”
Nigel says of particular concern for medical experts was these drugs were being sold with amateur advice as to their use and dosage with little regard for potential consequences.
“Clients also received guidance around drug testing and what substances could be used to avoid positive test results for those involved in high level sport.
“A search of a Hamilton address revealed several kilograms of 4MEC, anabolic steroids, prescription medicines and $178,000 cash.
“A search of a storage unit in the City revealed the group's pill press and large quantities of, at this stage, unidentified powders.”
It is estimated the press had the capacity to produce more than 5000 pills an hour.
“The colour of the pills and logo could be altered to accommodate specific orders and an Auckland based Police Clandestine Laboratory Team has assisted in the safe examination and dismantling of this facility.
“As a result of our enquiries a Hamilton man has been arrested and will appear in the Hamilton District Court today on charges of importing, selling and possession for supply of 4MEC and MDPV.”
In Auckland, searches of properties located more unidentified pills and performance and image enhancing drugs resulting in the arrest of two men who were charged with Offering to Supply 4MEC.
“In addition to this Christchurch search teams located large quantities of performance and image enhancing drugs and other yet to be identified powders.
“We anticipate further arrests will be made pending results of scientific analysis of the unidentified powders and prescription medicines.
“4MEC and MDPV are Class C Controlled drugs. 4MEC is now the most common substance identified in Ecstasy pills in New Zealand. It has been identified in a number of critical hospital admissions.
“It is estimated this group is responsible for importing in excess of 21 kilograms of 4MEC. This is sufficient to manufacture over 200 000 pills at a standard street value of $40 each.”
Nigel says a concern for the agencies involved was not just the illegalities of the operation in questions but the risks associated with taking prescription medications without professional consultation or guidance.
“People involved in such situations put their health at risk. If you are concerned that someone you love may be involved in potentially harmful behaviour such as this we ask that you contact your nearest Police Station, your call will be treated in confidence.
“Alternatively information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
Source: Waikato Police.