4 Mar 2016

$40 million worth of meth seized

5:38 pm on 4 March 2016

Customs and police have intercepted a large shipment of methamphetamine with a street value of $40 million.

Methamphetamine seized by police.

Methamphetamine seized by police. Photo: Supplied

Customs discovered around 40kg of methamphetamine hidden inside marble table-tops after intercepting a shipment of tea-tray tables sent from China.

Four men have been arrested and appeared in court yesterday on charges related to the importation of methamphetamine, its supply and conspiracy.

Police also seized a significant amount of assets including more than a $1 million in cash and a variety of luxury cars worth well in excess of $1 million, including a Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz.

Cash seized in a police and customs joint operation.

Cash seized in a police and customs joint operation. Photo: Supplied

Further methamphetamine with a street value of $1 million was also found at an Auckland address.

Customs Investigation Manager Maurice O'Brien told Checkpoint the arrests were great news.

"Because not only do you want the goods obviously, you want those involved, which dismantles or disrupts the syndicate."

Mr O'Brien described the smuggling as "sophisticated concealment to try and avoid detection," and said the seizure showed the efficiency of Customs' intelligence-led approach to identifying risk shipments, and stopping drugs at the border.

Detective inspector Zane Hooper from police's Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand said this type of sizeable seizure was a reflection of the ongoing demand for the drug.

"Methamphetamine use and the harm it causes in our community is a serious problem in New Zealand.

"This drug affects people from all walks of life. Users are directing disposable income away from families and savings to pay for it, and they are usually the ones at the end of a very long supply chain. You can be sure that at every step along that chain, someone has made money out of them."

Mr Hooper said gang members and organised crime groups were heavily involved in the drug supply market, which is causing serious harm to communities.

"Burglaries, robberies and other violence-related offending are frequently linked back to methamphetamine addiction and the drug supply chain. These crimes are not victimless; they lead to further harm and suffering in our communities."

Last year customs and police seized over 334kg, which is nine times the amount seized in 2013.