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Canadian jailed for smuggling $8M meth in footstool

10.40am 21 March 2018 | News

A 27-year-old Canadian man has been sentenced in the Manukau District Court to 15 years’ imprisonment for smuggling 8 kg of methamphetamine inside a concrete footstool. He will need to serve at least six years in jail before facing deportation.

Customs investigators arrested Kyle Robertson McCready at Auckland Airport on 7 October 2016 while trying to depart the country, after he was linked to an air freight shipment seized two days earlier. He was convicted in January, after a jury trial involving several witnesses.

On 5 October 2016, Customs officers at the Air Cargo Inspection Facility in Auckland examined a "decorative foot stool" sent via air freight from the USA.

Once smashed open, the concrete "foot stool" was found to contain 18 methamphetamine filled packages wrapped in plastic and carbon paper – weighing approximately 8 kg and worth a street value of up to $8 million. Forensic testing showed it had a purity level of 80%.

Customs Acting Manager Investigations Michael Blades says this operation was the result of Customs working closely with the freight company and public, who all showed commendable initiative and integrity. The arrest involved quick investigative action that linked the package to the individual – making sure he wasn't able to escape the country before being caught.

"Customs profiles and targets the different methods that criminal syndicates use to smuggle illicit drugs. In this case, the man had travelled to New Zealand for a 'holiday', rented a room via an internet ad on a short-term basis, and used a fake name to receive the shipment.

"We urge New Zealanders – room-mates, landlords, or neighbours to be aware of criminals who could be operating around them. If they have rented a place for short term, and are receiving packages 'for a friend' – please report any suspicions to 0800 4 CUSTOMS."