Charge laid in meth beer case linked to death

Thu, Mar 23
Honey Bear House Beer.

Police today confirmed a 30-year-old man has been charged in connection to a methamphetamine importation concealed within beer cans. The beer was linked the death of 21-year-old Aiden Sagala, whose name was released today.

Detective Inspector Glenn Baldwin provided further details of the ongoing investigation, saying a person of interest was arrested at Auckland Airport on March 10.

“This man, a 30-year-old, has been charged with supplying methamphetamine and remains before the Auckland District Court," he said.

Baldwin said a search warrant had been executed at an industrial property in Manukau last week, where "a significant quantity of methamphetamine concealed amongst a large shipment of Honey Bear House Beer cans" had been found.

Police have previously said the beer cans were of interest as they are not known to be sold in New Zealand.

"It is very clear that this consignment of drugs would have caused extensive social harm had it gone on to be sold and distributed within our communities," Baldwin said.

“This is still very much an active investigation, and our team is working to link further individuals to this shipment and hold them accountable.”

Victim named, warning issued for "distinctive" beer

The Coroner today identified the deceased person linked to the beer as 21-year-old Aiden Sagala of Auckland at the wishes of his family.

“Pathology testing remains ongoing into Aiden’s tragic death, after he innocently sat down for a beer after work,” he said.

“Police have established that Aiden was not involved in any way with the importation or distribution of methamphetamine or these beer cans.”

The death has been referred to the coroner, though police continue to make inquiries into the incident.

On March 11 police advised Kiwis to look out for the "distinctive" beer, which comes in a blue and red can and has a picture of a bear on the front.

Though the brand is believed to be unavailable in New Zealand, police have previously thought part of the shipment had been passed around among associates.

"Police ask anyone who might be in possession of a can of Honey Bear House Beer to not drink it," police said in a previous statement.

Police are asking anyone who is in possession of the beer to call 105 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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