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Customs seizes 100kgs methamphetamine and arrests two men

Two Australian men in their mid-twenties are scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court today charged with importing and possessing between 70 and 100 kilograms of methamphetamine, hidden inside plastic storage pallets.

Based on the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, this seizure has prevented an estimated $86 million to $124 million of social and community harm. If this quantity of methamphetamine had been sold, in per gram amounts, it would have had a street value of between $35 million and $50 million.

The two men arrived into New Zealand through Auckland Airport in June 2019. Although their arrival cards stated they were visiting the country for a short time, Customs investigators established the men had rented a storage unit.

Yesterday, 25 July, Customs investigators carried out multiple search warrants, with the assistance of NZ Police, at the storage unit and where the men were staying.

The search of the storage unit located 142 black and green plastic storage pallets and evidence of drug extraction from within the pallets. During the search two plastic pallets were found partially disassembled, with compressed methamphetamine visible in hidden compartments.

The search of the West Auckland home of one of the arrested men located an estimated $50,000 cash, hidden inside a dishwasher and inside a backpack. The search of a hotel room in central Auckland, where the second arrested man was staying, located keys to the storage unit.

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says this investigation and seizure is the result of analysing intelligence information on how some of these drug syndicates operate.

“It is not unusual for foreign nationals to arrive into the country, solely for the purpose of facilitating drug shipments. This seizure and the arrests are an example of some very good intelligence and investigative work, and we acknowledge the assistance of NZ Police.

“The concealment method was quite sophisticated and not easily identifiable. We are still in process of completing the methamphetamine extraction to confirm the weight and purity. We already know that a significant amount of methamphetamine is involved, and Customs is very pleased to have stopped it from reaching the streets and harming our communities,” Mr Berry says.

If you have suspicions about someone involved in illegal drug smuggling, call 0800 4 CUSTOMS (0800 428 786) in confidence, or Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.

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