Skip to main content
Page load in progress

Wellington Police charge two men for importing large quantities of ketamine in joint operation with Customs

04.03pm 14 December 2023

Wellington police have charged two people responsible for importing large quantities of the class C controlled drug ketamine.

Detective Senior Sergeant Hamish Blackburn of the Wellington District Organised Crime Unit said Operation Reheat was a joint New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs Service investigation into the importation and supply of ketamine across the Wellington region.

Charges were laid after six search warrants were carried out at properties in Wellington and Kāpiti.  Two men, aged 19 and 20, have been arrested and will appear in court on charges including importing a class C controlled drug and possession for supply of a class B controlled drug.

Early assessments indicate around 11 kilograms of ketamine as well as quantities of MDMA ecstasy have been seized so far.

This joint investigation commenced after Customs noticed an increase in ketamine seizures across the Wellington and Kapiti Coast regions.

At this stage, it is believed the offending uncovered in Operation Reheat spans between June 2022 and October this year, and, in some cases, included drugs being imported in packaging masked as anti-inflammatory medication.

“Authorities are continuing enquiries into identifying the supplier responsible for exporting  the ketamine to New Zealand. 

“Police and Customs are committed to identifying and disrupting the importation of these types of drugs which target our communities.  We are committed to holding offenders to account and delivering on our intent to keep New Zealanders safe,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Blackburn.

Chief Customs Officer Regional Investigations, Rachael Manning, says criminals should be warned that Customs and Police are constantly gathering intelligence on illicit drug smuggling activities and it is only a matter of time before they are caught.

“Acting on intelligence that spans a global reach, we work closely with our Police partners as well as our international law enforcement colleagues as needed to nab criminal operations like this one,” Ms Manning says.

Anyone who has concerns about criminal activity in their community can contact Police by calling 111 if it is happening now, and 105 if it has already happened.

Information can also be reported to your local Police Station or anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

The public can also report concerns about possible smuggling by contacting Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768)

We encourage anyone affected by drug addiction to seek help through the Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, or free text 8681.