6 Sep 2008

Customs seizes third largest haul of P chemical

8:47 am on 6 September 2008

Customs officers in Auckland have seized 80kg of chemicals that can be used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine.

The Customs Service says it is their third largest single haul of the chemical, which could have been used in the production of P with a street value of $20 million.

An X-ray of a container detected the Contac NT hidden in a shipment of packaged noodles. The drugs had come from China where they are a common cold and flu remedy.

Contac NT is an over-the-counter drug available in China. It was also at the centre of drug raids last Tuesday. Twelve people were arrested, eight of them prison inmates, following raids at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo, the Spring Hill Corrections Facility in Waikato and residential addresses throughout Auckland.

Customs Service manager of drug investigations Bill Perry says it is rare to find such a large consignment, though smaller lots are being intercepted each day.

He says 458kg of precursor drugs have been seized so far this year, and the total haul could exceed the record 594kg intercepted in 2006.

An Auckland man has appeared in court facing two drugs-related charges.

The Drug Foundation says the seizure proves Customs is doing a great job, and the Government's investment into tighter border control is paying off.

The foundation would like to see the same level of investment that goes into border protection be put into drug treatment and prevention programmes.