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US senior citizen charged for importing methamphetamine

8 January 2014

US senior citizen charged for importing methamphetamine

A 72 year old United States citizen appeared in the Manukau District Court today for importing approximately 6.2kg of methamphetamine or ‘P’ with a street value of $3 - $6 million into the country late last year. He remains in custody until the next scheduled appearance in March.

The case draws similarities with two separate arrests of US nationals, aged 70 and 55, for importing methamphetamine into Australia last week.

The man was questioned by Customs officers when he arrived in Auckland from Bangkok on 28 December. He was arrested after Customs officers searched his baggage, locating 6.2kg of a white crystalline substance concealed in the lining of his suitcase. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

Customs Manager Investigations Maurice O’Brien says it’s concerning that criminal syndicates appear to be targeting older people to carry significant amounts of drugs across borders.

“It’s important the public is aware that such criminal operations exist and people who, either knowingly or unknowingly, carry these drugs end up bearing the full brunt of the law.”

“Customs urges passengers not to carry any items on behalf of others when travelling to or from overseas without being fully aware of the contents. And if you receive an offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is – and not worth the risk,” he says.

During the busy summer period, with high passenger volumes and many people taking a holiday, Customs operates in full force at international airports and remains focussed both at the frontline and behind the scenes on disrupting the illicit drug trade.

A 68 year old Auckland man was also arrested in November last year after he arrived into New Zealand from Papua New Guinea carrying 1.5kg of methamphetamine concealed inside two bags he had been given.

The maximum penalty for importing class A controlled drugs into New Zealand is life imprisonment.

ENDS

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