4 Nov 2012

Cocaine seizures at NZ border triple

11:38 am on 4 November 2012

Cocaine seizures at the New Zealand border this year are almost three times that of last year.

Figures released to Radio New Zealand News show Customs officials have stopped 9.936kg of the drug, worth $4.96 million dollars, since January.

Last year, 3.5kg of cocaine was stopped from being smuggled into the country.

The biggest haul this year was in Napier, where 5kg of cocaine was discovered inside a refrigeration unit attached to a shipping container, Customs group manager investigations and response Bill Perry says.

And 2kg of the drug was found concealed in a man's suitcase while he was in transit at Auckland International Airport.

Mr Perry says evidence suggests that, in both cases, the drug was not bound for New Zealand. In one case the cocaine had been intended for Australia.

He says organised gangs and criminals are still actively trying to increase the cocaine market in New Zealand through drug trafficking.