WALIGTON: The second largest methamphetamine border seizure in New Zealand’s history means a very large quantity of harmful drugs will not make it to New Zealand streets these holidays, says Customs Minister Nicky Wagner.
On 5 December, Customs intercepted approximately 22.6 kilograms of methamphetamine, worth over $22 million. The drugs were hidden in the cargo of an international flight that arrived in Auckland from Taiwan.
A joint Customs and Police operation codenamed Operation Georgie was launched.Two Taiwanese nationals have been arrested and charged with importing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine for supply.
Detective Senior Sergeant Colin Parmenter, of the Organised and Financial Crime Agency, said the haul was the second-largest border seizure of the drug in New Zealand history, topped only by a 2006 seizure of 95kg of methamphetamine.
Customs investigations manager Maurice O’Brien said the import attempt involved a “sophisticated concealment method”.
“These criminals took a big risk and went to a lot of effort to try and smuggle the drugs undetected, but Customs’ officers and systems are alert to such shipments,” O’Brien said.
“I’m pleased that a very large quantity of harmful drugs will not be for sale on our streets these holidays, and the criminal syndicate will have an unhappy Christmas.”
O’Brien said the large quantity of drugs demonstrated the risks organised criminal groups were willing to take in the hope of generating large profits.
Customs Minister Nicky Wagner applauded the work of Customs officers who detected the “cleverly concealed” drug.
“Enforcement agencies will continue to work together in the fight against drugs and organised crime,” she said.