Sisters describe agonising night brother collapsed after unknowingly drinking liquid meth

The sisters of a young man have described the agonising night he collapsed at home in Auckland telling family "I think I'm dying" after unknowingly drinking pure liquid methamphetamine.

The death of Aiden Sagala has sparked a massive police investigation into the importation of meth brought into the country inside cans of beer.

Police don't yet know how much liquid methamphetamine was smuggled in, but they have seized from the same Manukau address a whopping 328 kilograms of meth in crystal form.

Aiden's sisters said their baby brother was "a man of God" who's completely innocent and that he's a "hero" who's ultimately saved the lives of many others.

For Angela Sagala and Rachel Raeli, Aiden was their humorous, healthy, cheeky baby brother.

"He was a man of God, the most loving, gentle giant," Angela told Newshub.

"He lights up the room, he really does light up the room."

Rachel said: "He was a very talented boy, he was loved. He was the prince of our family."

It was the evening of March 2 that Aiden would abruptly and inexplicably fall seriously ill. 

"So I replay that night every single day, walking into this house. Home is not the same without my baby brother," Angela said.

She picked him up from work at Fonterra Māngere where he worked as a packer. She dropped him at home with her partner and went to get fish and chips.

A short time later her partner called in distress, telling her "get home now". She could hear Aiden down the phone. 

"I could hear him on the other end of the phone screaming my mum's name. He was like, 'Mum!' It was agony and I was on the phone. I think I went through three red lights just to get here," Angela said.

When she arrived home, Aiden had collapsed and appeared to be having a seizure. He had a fever and a racing heart.

"He wasn't himself. It looked like he was possessed," Angela said.

"He was, like, on the ground and was trying to fidget with his nose and then he turned to me and was like, 'Sis, I'm dying'." 

Angela is a hospital doctor, and her instincts and training took over. 

"I was managing his pulse and making sure he had a pulse. And I was just like, 'Stay with me baby brother'. Until all of a few seconds when his hands became blue, his lips became blue in an instant, and I performed CPR."

She kept him alive until the ambulance arrived, but five days later, Aiden passed away. A positive result for meth in his urine was unexplainable. That was until Angela and her partner recalled the beer he'd drunk that night and what he'd told her partner about it.

"Comes into the room where my partner was who had just finished a shower and said, 'Hey bro, is this meant to taste salty'," Angela said.

"My partner had a sip of it and spat it out."

He instructed Aiden to wash his mouth out. No one knows how much Aiden consumed, but it's believed it was only a few sips. 

A tray of 24 cans of beer was given to Aiden for free. 

Police would later discover some cans indeed contained beer. Others had liquid methamphetamine.

Hundreds were seized from an industrial unit in Manukau. 

Angela Sagala, Aiden Sagala, and Rachel Raeli.
Angela Sagala, Aiden Sagala, and Rachel Raeli. Photo credit: Newshub.

"The can that he had drunk was just meth," Angela said.

Incredibly, Angela's partner also drank a can but his one was actual beer and nothing else. 

The so-called "beers" came from a workmate. It's understood some of Aiden's workmates were also given free trays.

"It was a work colleague. His words were, 'Oh, it's a friend from work'," Angela said.

Aiden's work pass still sits in his room where he left it after clocking off that day. His room is adorned with what he was passionate about - his homeland of Samoa. Also in there is the cross he wore every day. 

As the days have passed, Angela keeps wondering whether she could have done more to save her brother. 

"And it hurts because I didn't protect him, and I really should have. And it just feels like I failed him," she said.

Aiden's oldest sister Rachel was appointed to help with the funeral. 

"It's the last thing you want to do is go choose a plot… to bury the baby of the family," she said.

Rachel has three children and her oldest has tried to reassure her. 

"[They said], 'It's okay, mummy. Uncle Aiden is still alive, just not in this life'," Rachel said.

Both sisters are adamant their brother, known for playing piano at church on Sundays, was a hero. They said his death prompted a public alert from police and the removal of the cans from Angela's home, which she said she or her partner could have consumed.  

"This 21-year-old kid, he saved our lives and it sucks because he hasn't lived his life," Angela said.

"I don't really care what people say, my brother died a hero. I'm sitting here because of him."

They also want answers.

"I don't want to be revengeful but I want some justice for my baby brother," Angela said.

It was God's will Aiden was taken, they said. He wanted to rejoin the Army after completing academy training. And as their dad's only son, the sisters thought Aiden would and his descendants would carry the Sagala name for many years to come.

Angela and Rachel hope that by speaking about their brother they can both honour him but also set the record straight for those who have made assumptions about Aiden's character and their family. 

Aiden wasn't typically a beer drinker - but what 21-year-old turns down a free 24-pack? They said he was "just a normal kid" and "a mumma's boy" who was just unlucky.

Police have made two arrests, but the investigation is ongoing and further arrests and charges can't be ruled out.