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Smuggling methamphetamine packages earns hefty sentence

09.25am 13 April 2018 | News

A Vietnamese man who pleaded guilty to smuggling multiple packages of meth sent from Canada, and possession for supply of a class A drug, has been jailed for 10 years with a minimum non-parole period of four years, at the Auckland District Court.

Customs laid charges against 23 year-old Than Qui Phan, following an investigation last year.

Between January and March 2017, Customs officers found meth inside a home drinking water system, and in the packaging of two consignments of alloy wheel trims. In total, the packages hid 11.6 kg of meth, with a potential street value of up to $11.6 million.

Phan used different names and addresses for the packages that Customs linked to an apartment he lived in. He was arrested after Customs searched the apartment and found more methamphetamine, cannabis, electronic equipment, a meth pipe and around $13,000 cash. Two late model cars, a BMW and Mercedes Benz, were also seized as part of the investigation.

A 26-year-old woman initially charged with Phan has since been acquitted of all charges.

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says the sentencing sends a strong message to drug syndicates.

"Smuggling may be seen as a lucrative business for crime syndicates, but this investigation proves that with good intelligence work, we can stay a step ahead of drug criminals, and we will target assets gained from such activities.

"Methamphetamine causes serious social and economic issues and Customs is committed to preventing it and any other drugs from getting past our borders and onto our streets."