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Three men charged after largest-ever seizure of ephedrine

Three men charged after largest-ever seizure of ephedrine in joint Police & Customs investigation"

A joint Customs and Police investigation has resulted in the largest-ever seizure of ephedrine in New Zealand, which had the potential to make up to $150 million of meth.

In late April, two hundred kilos of ephedrine was stopped by Customs at the border, when officers identified a suspicious consignment of eighty boxes of paper sent from China.

A cavity had been made inside many of the boxes and within the stacks of paper to hide the ephedrine.

A subsequent joint operation has today resulted in the arrest of three people in relation to the importation.

Officers from the Police Organised Crime team in Auckland have today carried out 9 search warrants at residential addresses across the city, including Hillsborough, Ponsonby, central Auckland, Mt Roskill and Flat Bush.

Police have arrested and charged three men, aged 31, 34 and 32 years old.

They will remain in custody overnight and appear tomorrow morning in the Auckland District Court, on the following charges;

-Importation of class B controlled drug (ephedrine)

-Possession of a class B drug for supply

Each charge is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.

Ephedrine is a key ingredient used to make methamphetamine.

Previously, the largest seizure of ephedrine in New Zealand was around 95 kilos, which was found concealed in toys in October 2015.

“The 200 kilos of ephedrine had the potential to be used to make around 150 kilos of meth, with a street value of $150 million.

The public is increasingly familiar with the harm that this drug causes, and so to have stopped this importation from eventually making its way into the community is very significant,” says Detective Inspector Scott Beard, Organised Crime Auckland.

“Though this is a great seizure and the circumstances seem like something out of a movie, the reality is there are families out there who are being destroyed by meth, kids who are growing up in contaminated homes and innocent people who are victims of serious crime as a result of this drug.

It is a truly awful drug and today is a great demonstration of law enforcement working together to target drug trafficking into our country” says Det Inspector Scott Beard.

Customs Acting Investigations Manager Dominic Adams says Customs has an intelligence-led approach to risk management at the border and this seizure demonstrates that the sophisticated systems that are in place are working well.

“We’ll continue to partner with Police and enforcement agencies overseas to prevent criminal syndicates targeting New Zealand and causing significant harm to our communities” says Mr Adams.

Police and Customs are urging anyone who is affected by methamphetamine to seek help and call the Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797.


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