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$5 Million Of Crystal Methamphetamine Seized

For immediate release 1 September 06

Around $5 Million Of Crystal Methamphetamine Seized At Auckland International Airport

New Zealand Customs Service has netted around $5 million worth of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as 'P'.

On Monday, Customs Officers at Auckland International Airport discovered the bulk of the Class A drug packed into 43 picture frames. The frames were contained in the luggage of two passengers, who were travelling via Hong Kong on Canadian passports.

Customs found the 43 identically sized picture frames during an x-ray examination. Around 100 grams of the Class A controlled drug crystal methamphetamine was discovered within each frame. The total street value of this find is approximately $5 million.

New Zealand Customs Manager for Auckland Airport, Eddie Kohlhase, says this seizure highlights the need for his team to remain constantly alert to smuggling trends.

"In terms of smuggling, we're finding criminal groups will go to great lengths to circumvent controls at international borders. While we've again had success, it's a constant challenge for us to be one step ahead of the criminals - they can be very inventive," he says.

Customs Investigations Manager for Drugs, Simon Williamson, says this latest seizure brings the amount of crystal methamphetamine seized by Customs in 2006 up to 109.1 kilograms, nearly ten times more than the 11.8 kilograms seized during the whole of 2005.

"This highlights to Customs the fact that New Zealand continues to be targeted by international drug trafficking networks intent on bringing crystal methamphetamine and other forms of this hard drug into New Zealand," says Mr Williamson.

The most recent offenders, a 34-year-old female and 23-year-old male, are due to appear in the Manukau District Court on 4 October. They have been charged with Importing a Class A controlled drug and with Possession of a Class A controlled drug for the purposes of supply.


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