Wellington man behind $28m liquid ecstasy operation sentenced

Source: 1News

The Wellington man behind a $28 million drug importation operation has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

Hand holds packet with white narcotic - cocaine, meth or another drug stock photo.

Justin Rankin, 36, was arrested in November 2020 and charged with the possession of 400 litres of Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) and the further supply of 1800 litres.

He appeared in the Wellington District Court today.

Operation Skipjack is an investigation that started in August 2020 into the importation of GBL and Eutylone.

GBL is also known as G, fantasy, rinse and liquid ecstasy. Eutylone is an Amphetamine Type Substance (ATS) and is sold as Ecstasy.

During the operation there were 42 search warrants across the North Island and more than 20 people arrested, facing a total of 192 charges.

Detective Hamish Blackburn says: “Operation Skipjack has caused significant disruption to the illicit drug market and the seizure of such an enormous quantity of GBL has had a positive impact on preventing harm, and our communities are safer as a result.

“In tandem with the high alert drug warning system that was activated in November 2020 identifying this issue, Operation Skipjack has significantly impacted this syndicate’s activity and the associated harm pedalled into our communities.”

More than 7000 litres of GBL had been imported into New Zealand in the last three years, with customs seizing significant amounts.