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Customs destroys half tonne of illicit drugs

02.27pm 28 April 2016 | News

Customs has destroyed almost half a tonne of illicit drugs, including around $4 million worth of meth and 221 kgs of precursors that could have produced up to 62 kgs of methamphetamine with a street value of up to $62 million.

The total community harm avoided by seizing and destroying this amount of meth and its precursors is close to $82 million.

Also destroyed was 27 litres of GBL, 2193 LSD and NBome tabs, 27 kgs of various class A, B and C controlled drugs, cannabis and controlled medicines. A total of 458 kgs was destroyed, which accounted for 1025 separate ‘items’ including drugs, concealments and packaging.

Customs Acting Investigations Manager Dominic Adams says Customs destroys drugs on a regular basis and this haul is only part of a couple of months’ worth of drugs seizures at the border.

“The half-tonne destroyed filled 26 large storage bags plus several large cartons. Its worth on the streets would be well in the region of seven or even eight figures – that’s a lot of drugs kept off our streets and away from our communities.

“Destruction occurs in a high security environment under strict protocol. A complex process is followed to make the drugs useless and irretrievable.”

Mr Adams says Customs is constantly building its intelligence picture, and updating its risk assessment and examination techniques to keep up with the changing environment. In April, Customs seized over 50 kgs of ephedrine in one week alone.

“Customs is focused on disrupting the supply chain at the border and catching those involved. We continue to work closely with international and local enforcement agencies including New Zealand Police to target drugs suppliers and dismantle criminal networks.”

In 2015, Customs made 2776 drugs seizures at the border, including 283 kgs of meth and 938 kgs of its precursors, mainly ephedrine, which could have produced up to another 265 kgs of meth – that’s over half a tonne with a street value of up to $548 million.