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Further sentences handed down in multi-million-dollar drug smuggling case

08.44am 30 August 2023 | News

Two members of an Auckland family drug smuggling enterprise were sentenced today with one receiving more than five years' jail time.

34-year-old daughter, Anita Muru, and her 62-year-old mother, Dayle Muru, were sentenced in the Manukau District Court.

Anita Muru was given five-years-and-nine-months in jail. 

Her mother, Dayle Muru was sentenced to six months' Community Detention and six months' supervision and has forfeited $30,425 seized in the investigation for her role in the smuggling operation.

41-year-old brother and son, Kevin Muru, was sentenced to 10-years-and-10-months' imprisonment on April 2023.

Customs began Operation Montana in early 2020 after approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine was discovered hidden inside a rhinoceros statue sent from South Africa.

Investigations identified multiple drug importations and examined a total of 14 consignments sent via either international mail, fast freight, or air freight from South Africa, Asia, and Europe that hid either methamphetamine or MDMA (ecstasy) in every day items such as books, clothes, handbags, cans of cocoa, and tubs of cream.

Overall, seizures totalled more than 16.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, which could have produced around 825,000 common doses of methamphetamine, and more than 16 kilograms of MDMA, which could have produced approximately 128,000 individual doses.

Estimated street values at the time indicated the methamphetamine could have had a potential street value of between NZD$6.6 million and NZD$10 million. The MDMA was potentially worth around NZD$3.2 million.

“Stopping these quantities of methamphetamine and MDMA ecstasy prevented around NZD$18.5 million dollars' worth of harm reaching communities in Aotearoa,” Customs Investigations Manager Cam Moore said.

Customs' investigations established Kevin Muru was leading the operation by communicating with overseas drug suppliers and directing members of his criminal group to arrange delivery of addresses and collection of packages containing smuggled drugs that came into New Zealand.

His sister, Anita Muru, assisted in arranging drug shipments, including payment of Customs charges, and directing other members of the criminal group to source addresses and help with collection and transportation of drugs.

Their mother, Dayle Muru, was being directed to help collect packages in exchange for payment of money. She also allowed her apartment to be used to store the drugs and cash.

Another associate, 41-year-old Tina Turner, was sentenced to 12 months' home detention in November 2022 for her role in arranging a delivery address for some of the smuggled drugs.

Cam Moore says this case highlights the fact that organised criminal groups don't just mean large transnational syndicates.

“Opportunistic groups, such as families, are also known to set up criminal businesses to make money out of the misery they cause our communities,” Cam Moore said.

Anyone who has concerns about possible suspicious behaviour or activity can contact Customs confidentially on O800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.