Four Japanese and two Iranians have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an international drug syndicate smuggling methamphetamine worth millions of dollars into New Zealand.
Japanese nationals Toshiyuka Toda, 52, Kazuhiko Takiguchi, 39, Takako Takiguchi, 31, and Yoshinori Tanakawa, 40, were arrested at Auckland Airport on Wednesday.
The Herald understands customs officers found about 4kg of methamphetamine - with a street value of $4 million - in the lining of their suitcases.
A joint operation between police and customs orchestrated a "controlled delivery" of the drugs to a pre-arranged hotel room in Auckland.
Two Iranian men, Nader Ghaffari, 38, and Fardien Nourian, 42, were subsequently arrested by police, and all six appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday on charges including conspiracy and possession and importation of the class A drug, also known as P.
Ghaffari was released on bail; the other five were remanded in custody to reappear early next month.
An unknown man called "Andy" is also listed in court documents as a co-offender in the conspiracy charges.
The Government has introduced new laws this year to crack down on gangs and the $1 billion methamphetamine trade, including the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, which allows police to seize assets and unexplained wealth from suspected criminals.By Jared Savage @jaredsavageNZH Email Jared