Meth importation trial goes to High Court

The High Court has taken over a case involving alleged importation of $50 million of methamphetamine from Mexico.

All three accused are now remanded to a pre-trial call-over in the High Court on July 13, after denying the charges. Two of the men were granted bail in the Christchurch District Court in February, but the third is being held in custody on remand at the Hawkes Bay Regional Prison.

Since their last appearance, the High Court has stepped in and will be the venue for the trial.

Michael Harrison Cooper, 31, and Johnathan James Seal, 25, were arrested in November as part of the police and customs department’s Operation Drugs investigation which allegedly found 49kg of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $50 millionhidden in a shipment of safety lights from Mexico.

They have denied charges of possession of methamphetamine for supply and importing the class A drug.

The third man was arrested in the North Island last year on the importation charge. He has name suppression which was continued today at the request of defence counsel Paul Johnson so that he could tell his extended family in the Pacific islands about his arrest.

The man appeared before Judge Tom Gilbert by video-link from Hawkes Bay.

He was remanded in custody for another appearance in the High Court by video-link.

Judge Gilbert granted the suppression but said it was not a reason for the order to be continued at the next appearance and it would lapse unless the High Court extended it.

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