Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Methamphetamine Drug Courier Jailed In Customs-led Case

The 28-year-old man Customs identified as the key organiser in an attempt to smuggle methamphetamine from the United States of America in a suitcase during the middle of COVID-19 lockdown has today been jailed for seven years and three months.

Customs officers stopped Romney Fukofuka at Auckland International Airport in May 2020 and caught him with 19.4 kilograms of methamphetamine in his carry-on suitcase.

National Drug Intelligence Bureau estimates indicated this amount of methamphetamine could have been worth between around NZD$7.8 million and NZD$11.6 million on the street at the time. It could have produced nearly one million doses of the drug to be smoked, which is the most common way it is consumed. The seizure has prevented up to $21.5 million of potential social harm.

Customs began Operation Santana in April 2020, and uncovered solid evidence including encrypted phone messaging, swipe card data, and CCTV footage that linked Fukofuka’s involvement with four ‘trusted insider’ baggage handlers who were meant to take the bag.

Customs Investigations Manager Cam Moore says today’s result is the culmination of a lot of hard-work, intelligence gathering and thorough investigations, which put the spotlight on a criminal enterprise, long before they knew authorities were onto them.

“Customs is well-aware of ongoing efforts by organised crime groups to tempt, bribe or even coerce people working at border entry points and in New Zealand’s supply chain. These criminals aren’t interested in the people they exploit, only the profits they can make from targeting our communities,” Cam Moore said.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“Our message is clear – Don’t do it. Organised criminal groups don’t care about what happens to you or your families - it’s not worth the risk or repercussions.”

Customs acknowledges valuable assistance from the Police National Organised Crime Group (NOCG), as well as the critical help provided by US Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations to bring Operation Santana to a successful conclusion.

Evidence gained from Customs and Police joint investigations into Operation Santana contributed to another joint investigation, Operation Selena, which saw at least 25 people arrested, including a number of baggage handlers, along with millions of dollars in assets seized, including two Auckland properties, a number of vehicles, and large sums of cash.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On The Newshub/Smokefree Twin Fiascos


Here’s a tale of two sunset industries. One has a track record of quality investigative reporting, and sound reportage of the 24/7 news cycle. The other sunset industry peddles a deadly substance that kills and injures tens of thousands of New Zealanders every year, while imposing significant annual costs on the public health system.

Which industry is this government rushing to assist..?
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.