Police raids follow drug use publicity

Nelson Mail, 8 March 2001

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A recent drug raid in Motueka and Nelson stemmed from concerned people reacting to publicity over drug use at New Year's Eve dance party the Gathering, according to police.

Senior Sergeant Grant Andrews of Motueka police said about five people wrote to police with their concerns after reading The Nelson Mail's reports about drug use at the Gathering and the police reaction.

"The people believed we should be looking out for people who have been involved with the sale and supply of cannabis," he said.

Police last week arrested 26 people and seized $140,000 worth of cannabis, cannabis oil and seeds in the raid, named Operation Roundup, which covered the Motueka and Nelson areas.

"A lot of this came about from people writing after articles about the Gathering. As a result, we decided to act on it and put together an operation," Mr Andrews said.

In January, The Nelson Mail published articles relating to drug use at the Gathering, stating that 93 out of 100 people questioned by a reporter had admitted taking some form of illegal drug at the four-day party.

Mr Andrews said police would consider stepping up their presence at the Gathering in future, and would target known drug suppliers there.

The police targeted names supplied in the letters and built up a dossier on those people, he said. Properties were then searched and arrests made.

"It shows that people out there will not tolerate these people in their town. They are not being malicious, and if they want to give us information we will always follow it up."


Caption: Grant Andrews

Kirsten Newman, Nelson Mail, 8 March 2001

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