Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Operation Ghost drugs bust total hits 600kg after new find

More than 260 kg of drugs used to cook methamphetamine were found hidden in a shipping container at the Ports of Auckland yesterday from intelligence gained from Operation Ghost. Photo / supplied
More than 260 kg of drugs used to cook methamphetamine were found hidden in a shipping container at the Ports of Auckland yesterday from intelligence gained from Operation Ghost. Photo / supplied

More than 260kg of drugs used to cook methamphetamine were found hidden in a shipping container when police followed up on intelligence gained from Operation Ghost - bringing the total seized in the record breaking investigation to nearly 600kg.

Police say that is enough pseudoephedrine to cook $172 million of P.

Detectives from the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand, working alongside Customs Officers, intercepted the large consignment of Class B drugs when a container ship arrived at the Ports of Auckland yesterday morning.

Hidden inside the container was 248kg of pseudoephedrine, also known as the cold medicine ContacNT, and 16kg of pure ephedrine which are both used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good, of OFCANZ, said the consignment was large enough to produce methamphetamine with a street value of $72 million.

The ContacNT was disguised as legitimately imported commercial goods - bags of bread crumbs - and Mr Good said the importation was able to be identified in the consignment from intelligence gathered during Operation Ghost.

"While we were confident our intelligence was accurate it was still a huge relief when we opened the shipping container at the Customs inspection facility and the drugs were discovered," Mr Good said.

Operation Ghost was an 18 month investigation which focused on a group of senior Asian organised crime figures operating in New Zealand which led to more than 30 arrests.

More than 330 kilograms of ContacNT, 15.5 ounces of methamphetamine and approximately $1.5 million of cash had already been seized prior to the shipment discovered at the Ports of Auckland yesterday.

In total, 594kg of pseudoephedrine has been seized - enough to make $172 million of methamphetamine.

Homes, cars and cash worth more than $20m were also seized and the police are also focusing on millions of dollars gambled at SkyCity casino as part of the ongoing inquiry.

- NZ Herald

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