US snowboarders up on dope charges

BY MARK HOTTON IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2009

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Two high-profile United States snowboarders, one understood to be a Winter Olympics double medallist, will appear in court next week charged with possessing cannabis.

The pair, aged 26 and 21, were arrested in Wanaka on Saturday night after being stopped for random roadside breath testing.

Sergeant Paul Crosswell, of Wanaka, said the pair were allegedly caught with "not an insignificant amount" of cannabis in their car.

They will appear in the Queenstown District Court on Monday.

The 26-year-old man has been called an influential snowboarder, while the younger man, who has visited New Zealand before, is vying to represent the US at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year.

It was not known whether they were in New Zealand as part of the US snowboarding team ahead of this month's Winter Games.

Neither US snowboarding halfpipe head coach Mike Jankowski nor representatives from the United States Ski and Snowboard Association in Utah could be contacted yesterday.

The pair are not the first high-profile Americans to face drug charges while visiting New Zealand.

In a much-publicised case in 2000, US billionaire philanthropist Peter Lewis received a discharge without conviction when he paid more than $50,000 to charity after admitting importing more than 23g of cannabis.

 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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