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Customs and Police successfully dismantle drug networks

01.26pm 31 January 2018 | News

A number of drug supply chains were disrupted last year, with New Zealand Customs and New Zealand Police making a large number of drug seizures throughout 2017.

Working alongside other partner agencies, Customs and Police seized large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine between January and November last year.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, National Manager: Organised Crime Group said that holding drug dealers and organised crime groups to account is a priority for Police.  

“Last year the National Organised Crime Group, in partnership with Customs, dismantled at least ten significant transnational crime groups operating in New Zealand and preying on our communities.

“Our intent is to continue to prevent organised crime flourishing. These illicit drugs are destructive and have no place in our communities. We know they cause negative health implications and financial and social harm to users and their families.

“As a result of drug use and drug dealing, communities often notice increased levels of crime such as burglaries, theft and vehicle crime. Often drug users try to fund their habit this way, and it’s not uncommon for drug dealers to receive stolen property as payment for drugs.   This affects the whole community.”

Detective Superintendent Williams said a priority for Police during these operations is also referring users to the appropriate agencies so they can get the help they need.

Detective Superintendent Williams also acknowledged the partnership of Customs in many operations last year.

“We will continue to work together to take every opportunity to disrupt the supply of drugs in New Zealand.”

From January until November, Police and Customs jointly seized over 403.5 kilos of methamphetamine across 1879 seizures, both at the border and domestically through investigations.

For the same period, both agencies made 132 cocaine seizures, including an estimated 46 kilos of cocaine in Tauranga, following a five-month Customs and Police investigation.  

There have also been a number of offshore seizures that has prevented drugs getting into New Zealand and our communities.

Customs’ Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement Jamie Bamford says a key part of New Zealand’s strategy to counter cross-border smuggling is focusing on preventing the drugs from reaching New Zealand in the first place.

“Both Customs and Police work very closely with our overseas partners to share intelligence and target both the international drug suppliers and the distribution networks in New Zealand. Our overseas-based liaison officers play a crucial role in facilitating such operations.

“International drug cartels will continue to try all methods to make money in New Zealand, and we are doing everything possible disrupt this. We don’t want the drugs, or these criminals in our society.

While the available statistics are between January and  November last year, Police across the country also made a number of other seizures at the end of 2017, such as Operation Sweden, a collaborative effort from Police staff across Wairarapa, Wellington and Counties Manukau, which saw 17 people arrested and approximately 30 kilos of methamphetamine seized.


Please see below stats for 2017 for our biggest commodities. Please note that the 2017 data is provisional only. It is inclusive of New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service data. For comparison, we have also included 2016 data for January-December. 


2016: 36,314 g over 132 seizures 

2017: 108,150 g over 165 seizures


2016: 941,269 g over 2059 seizures

2017: 403,523 g over 1879 seizures 

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, do something – you could be helping yourself or someone around you to have a more positive future.

The Drug Alcohol Helpline (0800 787 797 or is a great place to seek information and support for yourself or someone you know.

You can also report information about drugs to your local Police station, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.