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Customs and Police stop $40M meth

02.04pm 04 March 2016 | News

Customs and Police have stopped a large shipment of meth with an estimated street value of $40 million from reaching our streets and harming New Zealanders.

The joint operation started after Customs intercepted a shipment of tea-tray tables sent from China, and discovered around 40 kgs of methamphetamine hidden inside the marble table tops. The operation has led to the arrest of four men who appeared in court yesterday on charges related to the importation of methamphetamine, its supply and conspiracy.

In addition, Police yesterday seized a significant amount of assets including over $1 million in cash and a variety of luxury cars worth well in excess of $1 million. These cars included a Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz. Further methamphetamine with a street value of $1 million was also found at an Auckland address.

Customs Investigations Manager Maurice O’Brien says this seizure shows the efficiency of Customs’ intelligence-led approach to identifying risk shipments, and stopping drugs at the border.

“This was a sophisticated concealment to try and avoid detection, but we have multi-layered systems in place and large seizures continue to be made. Working with Police to share information and resources boosted our joint capability and led to this result."

Detective Inspector Zane Hooper of the Police's Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand says sizeable seizures, such as the more than 41 kgs of methamphetamine found during this operation, are a reflection of the ongoing demand for the drug.

"Methamphetamine use and the harm it causes in our community is a serious problem in New Zealand. Last year Customs and Police seized over 334 kgs, which is nine times the amount seized in 2013.

"This drug affects people from all walks of life. Users are directing disposable income away from families and savings to pay for it, and they are usually the ones at the end of a very long supply chain. You can be sure that at every step along that chain, someone has made money out of them.

"Gangs members and organised crime groups are heavily involved in the drug supply market, which causes serious harm to our communities and generates an unacceptable social cost.

"Burglaries, robberies and other violence-related offending are frequently linked back to methamphetamine addiction and the drug supply chain. These crimes are not victimless; they lead to further harm and suffering in our communities.

“I would like to encourage anyone that wishes to pass on information to Police relating to drug dealing to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Police would also encourage any person affected by methamphetamine to contact the Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, or"