'P' precursors concealed in shipment of bicycles
In a joint agency operation involving New Zealand Customs Service and Auckland Metro Crime and Operations Support (AMCOS), officers have seized 44.8kg of ContacNT (a precursor for the manufacture of methamphetamine) in a shipment of 80 bicycles. This interception comes hard on the heels of interceptions of methamphetamine and precursors last month with a value of $50 million.
“The intercepted precursors were well concealed in bicycles and destined for our local market. They had the potential to be manufactured into 13kg of the drug 'P', with a potential value of $13 million,” says Customs Manager Investigations Bill Perry.
Tagged Operation Hurricane, this shipment was intercepted in a commercial containerised consignment that arrived from China, imported through Auckland.
Customs intercepted the container with the concealed precursors using its x-ray screening equipment and subsequent extensive physical examination.
A Chinese male on a work permit has been arrested and charged in relation to the case with possession for supply of a Class C controlled drug, and importing a Class C controlled drug.
Perry says, "The continued demand for ‘P’ in the New Zealand market drives organised criminal groups towards increasingly complex concealments. On average, Customs reports a drug interception a day with almost 90 per cent of them being precursors for the manufacture of methamphetamine.
"We are finding precursors concealed in every importation pathway and in all forms of concealment from mail, to air and sea freight, express parcels and with passengers at airports."
"Organised and managed by international crime syndicates, this kind of shipment involves groups who are well networked and entrepreneurial. These groups have seen a niche in our local market and they will continue to try and find new and inventive ways to conceal their illegal trade," Perry says.
Police Detective Inspector Bruce Good says interceptions of methamphetamine precursors show that ‘P’ manufacturing in New Zealand remains widespread.
No further information is available at this stage as this matter is now before the courts.