Queenstown Mayor backs pill testing after MDMA bust finds many pills aren't what dealers say they are

Queenstown's Mayor says police briefed him about a growing drug problem in the area before arresting six people.

Police seized more than 2400 MDMA pills - ecstasy - with a street value of about $125,000. They also nabbed LSD tabs, cannabis and more than $5000 in cash. Not all of the drugs were purely what they were being sold as either. 

Mayor Jim Boult says it's a "delight" to see it off the streets.

"Every community in New Zealand has a drug problem of some description. In recent times I've become more aware of it... my first reaction to this is congratulations to police for their diligence and hard work in apprehending these folk." 

Those arrested are a 24-year-old woman facing two charges of supplying class B drugs, as well as supplying cannabis and possession of cannabis for supply; a 26-year-old man charged with supplying cocaine, supplying MDMA and possession for supply of cannabis; a 25-year-old woman charged with supplying cocaine; a 28-year-old man charged with supplying cocaine; a 21-year-old man charged with supplying MDMA; and a 32-year-old man charged with supplying cocaine and offering to supply Class A drugs.

"High levels of MDMA have been detected in the Queenstown [waste] water supply, and local bar owners have noticed the effect drug use was having on their establishments and were worried about the safety of their patrons," said Snr Sgt Paula Enoka, the acting area commander.

"Of additional concern is that several of the drugs seized by police and tested have come back as being made up of different substances than those they are being sold as, putting those who choose to take them at additional risk."

Boult says there has been an increase in drugs and violence since the COVID-19 lockdown, and supports pill testing by groups like Know Your Stuff, which was recently temporarily legalised

"They're peddling rubbish and the sooner they're off the streets, the better." 

Enoka said it was important for people to understand "illicit drugs are generally manufactured and/or imported by people who put profit above all else and do not consider the health and well-being of users".