22 Dec 2015

Man jailed for importing 'bath salts'

5:15 pm on 22 December 2015

A man cried in the dock at the Wellington District Court as he was jailed for two years and nine months for importing and selling Alpha PVP, a drug colloquially known as "bath salts".

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Between January 2014 and March this year, Michael Clapham arranged for 24 packages of the drug to be sent from China to Wellington.

They contained over 7 kilograms of the drug, valued at more than $366,000.

Under New Zealand law, Alpha PVP is a Class C drug, the same category as cannabis, but it has some of the same effects as harder drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine.

Some users overseas have experienced psychotic episodes and there have been fatalities amongst those using the drug.

Clapham had forfeited to the Crown several items of property worth about $85,000, including a boat and trailer, a ute and $10,000 cash.

The Crown agreed credit could be given for that, but suggested it should only reduce the end sentence by nine months.

Judge Bruce Davidson said the aggravating features of Clapham's offending were the level of drugs involved and the repeated importations.

He said letters written to the court showed those close to Clapham were mystified by his involvement, as he had good family support and employment at the time it occurred.

Two other people facing charges relating to the drug will be back in court next year.