Sisters of a New Zealand man whose death has prompted a large-scale investigation into the importation of meth in beer cans have described the moment he began shaking and acting possessed before uttering, “I feel like I’m dying”.
Aiden Sagala died on March 7 in Auckland City Hospital after police said he “innocently sat down for a beer after work” that was laced with methamphetamine.
Police said Sagala was not involved in importing or distributing the contaminated beer “in any way”.
Tonight, his sisters shared with Newshub the details about the last moments of his life.
Sagala recently moved from Wellington to Auckland to accept a job with Fonterra. His older sister Angela Sagala and her partner welcomed the 21-year-old into their home.
He was a happy, intelligent, and funny guy, Angela said, who told Newshub he was the cheeky youngest child.
Every day, Angela, who is a doctor, would either drive him to and from work or let him use her vehicle while she caught the train.
On the fateful March 2, Angela picked up Aiden as usual. She said that despite not “being a drinker”, he chose to open one of the beers a co-worker had given him.
After dropping him off at home, she ran out to get some fish and chips. But Angela received a panicked call from her partner which turned into a nightmare, she told Newshub.
Something was amiss with Aiden, so he told her to return home “now”. Aiden’s screams for his mother could be heard in the background of the conversation, she said.
When Angela returned home, she discovered her brother acting “possessed” and had a temperature.
“I feel like I’m dying,” he said to Angela as his pulse was pounding.
“He was shaking and his actions weren’t normal. He was sitting here in the lounge, he dropped to the ground and that’s when his episode happened. An episode we later found out wasn’t a seizure but that he had meth in his system,” she told Newshub.
As they waited for an ambulance to arrive, Angela started CPR. Aiden died five days later, on March 7, at Auckland City Hospital.
For the entire family, his death has been devastating, and Angela said it came as such a shock.
“I have my good days and my bad days. Mentally, his death has been really devastating. The way he went was devastating,” she said.
“He was really, really loved by us and it hasn’t been easy. It’s been hard to accept. Maybe if he was sick it would have been a little bit easier, but because this was sudden and accidental it’s been a really hard pill to swallow.”
According to Angela, her brother saved the lives of her, her partner, and potentially a large number of people in the community.
“He died as a hero and that’s what we want to make sure people understand. If it weren’t for Aiden, this wouldn’t have been out in public and the police wouldn’t have known the alcohol had meth in it.
“We are devastated that he’s gone but he saved our lives and I will always remember that and the memories that we shared and had with him.”
This comes after news earlier today that as part of the investigation sparked by Sagala’s death, a shipment of kombucha bottles is among pallets of drug-laced beer cans seized by police in a raid where officers have so far identified 328kg of methamphetamine.
More than a dozen armed police officers swarmed a warehouse on Ryan Place in Manukau on March 16.
They located and seized multiple pallets of Honey Bear House Beer cans potentially laced with methamphetamine.
The more than a quarter tonne of meth has been recovered in crystallised form from the industrial address, police said. Analysis is continuing into meth in liquid form that was recovered at the same time.
Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man had been arrested on March 10 at Auckland International Airport and faces methamphetamine supply and importation charges.
This article originally appeared in the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission