A Hong Kong man has been sentenced to more than 16 years in prison for importing $20 million of methamphetamine hidden in spatula sets.
Ho Hin Gabriel Wan, 24, was handed the sentence in the High Court in Auckland this morning.
Customs intercepted the consignment of 80 boxes of spatula sets in July last year. Each set had 250 grams of methamphetamine hidden underneath.
In total, about 20kg with a street value of $20m were found.
Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said Wan entered the country in May on a visitor's visa specifically to receive the shipment from Hong Kong.
Mr Berry said intelligence linked Wan to the shipment and he was arrested on the North Shore in August 2016.
"The outcome of the investigation was a great result, the methods of drug concealment are constantly changing and evolving across all the importation streams which requires extreme vigilance and hard work by our customs officers.
"The sole reason for his travel to New Zealand was to receive this consignment of drugs. This was a significant seizure and the result in court today is testament to our targeting systems and quick action by our people," Mr Berry said.
Yesterday Customs revealed a joint investigation with the police resulted in the arrest of seven overseas nationals for the attempted import of at least 100kg of methamphetamine disguised as concrete inside the base of outdoor umbrella stands.