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Customs make NZ's second biggest cocaine seizure

For immediate release
7 October 2003

Customs make New Zealand’s second biggest cocaine seizure

Customs officers have recently made New Zealand’s second largest seizure of the Class A controlled drug cocaine at Auckland International Airport.

Approximately 7kgs of the drug was located in a false-sided suitcase being carried through Customs by a 40-year-old South African male travelling on what is believed to be a false British passport.

The courier had arrived in New Zealand on a flight from Santiago, Chile, via Papeete and Rarotonga.

“This is a significant seizure and the Customs officers involved need to be congratulated for their vigilance,” says Simon Williamson Customs Manager Drug Investigations.

“The method of concealment was extremely difficult to detect and involved the suitcase having both inner and outer fibreglass shells concealing the actual drug.

“Customs officers literally had to cut the suitcase apart to remove the cocaine,” said Mr Williamson.

As a result of this interception a joint Police and Customs drug operation was instigated, together with extensive enquiries both within New Zealand and overseas.

The detection of the courier lead to the identification of a second passenger on the same flight believed also involved with the importation and 44 year-old Australian male, a resident of Sydney, was also arrested by members of the Auckland Police Metro Drug Squad.

It is believed that the cocaine was destined ultimately for Australian.

Both offenders are now before the courts.

- end -

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