Police and Customs have seized 14kg of methamphetamine and $400,000 in cash in an operation targeting a “transnational organised crime cell”.
Late last week, search warrants were carried out in the Auckland region as part of a month-long investigation into an alleged international crime group operating out of Mexico, police said in a statement.
A 36-year-old Mexican man has been arrested and charged with possession for supply of methamphetamine. Police believe the methamphetamine seized originated from Mexico.
National Organised Crime Group (NOCG) director Detective Superintendent Greg Williams said it’s the 25th organised crime cell dismantled in New Zealand in five years, and warned crime cells have been constantly targetting us.
“On many occasions, they are inserting their own people into the country,” he said.
“Once established here, they are importing illicit drugs, establishing supply lines to domestic markets, and then moving their profits out of the country.”
According to police, the meth had a street value of just under $5 million, and the National Drug Intelligence Bureau said it would have done about $15.5 million in harm.
Police said further arrests and charges were possible under Operation Settler.
“Police are committed to targeting this sort of operation which is undermining the wellbeing of our communities and profiting off their misery,” said NOCG Detective Inspector Albie Alexander.
This discovery follows last week’s biggest-ever drug bust in New Zealand, where more than three tonnes of cocaine were found floating in the Pacific Ocean.
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