Drug lab found in Chews Lane apartment; four people face charges

chews lane
Twitter photo from Paola Brett

Four people were in court this afternoon facing charges connected with a P lab that was found this morning in a 13th floor apartment above Chews Lane between Willis Street and Victoria Street.

The NZ Herald reports their names were suppressed, two were given bail and two were remanded in custody.

News from NZ Police at 12.05pm
Wellington Police are interviewing two men and a woman who were found in the property of a suspected clan lab at a Chews Lane apartment this morning.

A third man was arrested after he arrived at the apartment shortly after the execution of the search warrant this morning and will be charged with methamphetamine-related offences.

Police have secured the property and it will be examined by ESR scientists after the Police Clan Lab team have assessed it as safe.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch says “This demonstrates that these labs can be setup almost anywhere and people need to be vigilant. We would encourage anyone who sees unusual comings and goings or notices chemical smells to get in contact with Police.”

“These labs present a real risk of fire, explosion or chemical contamination and can pop up right next door.”

Most residents are now back in the building apart from two apartments on either side of the suspected clan lab scene. Police are working to return the residents as soon as it is safe to do so.

One Police staff member was examined by ambulance staff after decontamination and is not reporting any significant adverse symptoms. All other Police and Fire staff who underwent decontamination did not require medical attention.

News from NZ Police at 6.23am
Police and Fire Service are currently dealing with a suspected Clan lab in an apartment in Chews Lane in the Wellington CBD.

Police executed a search warrant in one of the apartments just after 5am this morning. Upon entry, a Clan lab was discovered. The apartment was been evacuated once the occupants were secured.

At this stage, no other apartments have been evacuated.

The four occupants and several police will shortly undergo decontamination by the Fire Service. To facilitate this, Harris Street will be closed to all traffic.

Also one lane is closed on Victoria Street between Williston and Mercer Streets. Chews Lane is also closed to pedestrians.

It is hoped to have these streets fully open by 7.30am

Though police have said (above) that no residents were evacuated, the DomPost reports a different story and quotes numerous residents who were told to leave the apartment building.

The DomPost says 30 police and eight fire engines were called to Chews Lane, with several police “undergoing decontamination”.

The NZ Herald confirms that the 19-storey apartment block was evacuated after the police raided an apartment on the 13th floor. It reports:

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said police executed a search warrant after members of the public tipped them off to drugs at the address.

“The police kind of tripped upon this lab – we didn’t realise there would be a lab there, so we weren’t prepared for a lab.”

The raid has attracted lots of attention on social media.

slowclap for the people running a meth lab from an apartment directly across the road from Police National Headquarters.

Chews Lane is literally across the street from the Wellington Central Police Station … that takes some gonads.

Stu Fleming:
It is easier to establish a P lab in New Zealand, than it is to get UFB installed

There’s also been discussion about the meaning of “clan lab.” Most media reports are referring to a “p lab.” But the DomPost refers to a “clandestine lab” which seems to be a better explanation of what police were trying to say.


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