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Customs warns drug couriers after $7.8m meth arrest

Two foreign nationals appeared in court today after Customs intercepted methamphetamine or ‘P’, totalling around 7.8kg, in separate incidents at Auckland Airport over the weekend.

A 28 year old United States national, who arrived from Los Angeles on Friday, was arrested by Customs officers after 4kg of methamphetamine was located in his laptop bag.

Customs arrested another 32 year old Mexican female the following morning after she arrived from Chile carrying close to 3.8kg of methamphetamine, also similarly concealed.

Customs’ Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations and Enforcement Chris Howley says drug syndicates use various tricks and traits to conceal drugs and hand them to drug couriers to carry across international borders.

“Let the arrests be a warning – these methods are known to us and couriers can expect a full Customs welcome if they try to carry drugs into New Zealand.”

“Severing the methamphetamine supply chain at the border is Customs’ top priority, and we will do everything it takes to stop illicit drugs from reaching the streets and harming our communities,” he says.

“I’m pleased that this significant amount of drugs, which could have had a total street value of up to $7.8 million, is where it belongs – in Customs’ drug haul to be destroyed.

Mr Howley has also praised the work of Customs officers at the airport.

“This is a busy time at international airports with passenger volumes at an all time high. If couriers think they can sneak past with the rest of the crowd, Customs is operating in full force and our officers are equipped and experienced to identify them.”

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


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