Teen faces 23 charges after major drug bust

Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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An Albert Town teenager appeared in court yesterday to face serious drug-dealing charges after a major undercover police bust in Wanaka.

Monty Archie Vass, 19, a kitchen hand, appeared before Judge David Holderness in Queenstown District Court on 23 drug-dealing charges for alleged offences committed between July and October.

No plea was entered to the charges, which were conspiring to supply MDMA, or an ecstasy analogue, 10 counts of offering to supply MDMA, six counts of offering to supply cannabis, procuring MDMA, three counts of offering to sell cannabis and offering to supply Ritalin.

Duty lawyer Mike Newell said police opposed bail and Vass was applying for legal aid.

The judge said the charges were serious. "The court is going to have to give some careful consideration as to whether bail would be appropriate."

Vass was remanded in custody without plea to appear on December 16.

Eight people have been arrested so far after the undercover operation into an alleged Wanaka drug ring. Police raided 10 houses on Sunday and Monday in Wanaka and Luggate.

Defendants include Daniel Miller, 29, plasterer; Oscar Jimmy Gold Arlidge, 28; Daimon Jon Schwalger, 41; Campbell Blair Smith, 28; and Tomu Filikitonga, 36.

Organised Crime Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said the operation had been running since July and included several undercover officers.

Police seized hundreds of tabs of LSD, MDMA (ecstasy) and cannabis in the operation. About $13,000 in cash was also seized and several cannabis-growing operations were uncovered.

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- The Southland Times

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