$62 million of illicit drugs destroyed by Customs

By Mahvash Ali

Around half a tonne of illegal substances seized by Customs were destroyed. Photo/File
Around half a tonne of illegal substances seized by Customs were destroyed. Photo/File

More than $62 million of illicit drugs were destroyed this week.

The illegal substances weighed around a half a tonne and included $4 million of methamphetamine and 221kg of precursors that could have produced an additional 62kg of methamphetamine, New Zealand Customs said.

Meth and its precursors were not the only substances included in the operation. Customs also destroyed 27 litres of GBL, 2193 LSD and NBome tabs, 27kg of various class A, B and C controlled drugs, cannabis and controlled medicines. The weight of the items destroyed was 458kg - which included 1025 separate "items" including drugs, concealments and packaging.

However, this haul accounts for a small amount seized at the border.

Customs Acting Investigations Manager Dominic Adams said the annual quantity confiscated at the border is much bigger and this operation is indicative of the volume taken only over a couple of months.

"The half-tonne destroyed filled 26 large storage bags plus several large cartons. Its worth on the streets would be well in the region of seven or even eight figures - that's a lot of drugs kept off our streets and away from our communities."

He added the process of destroying the substances was complex and would ensure the drugs become useless and non recoverable. The procedure took place in a highly secure premises with strict protocol.

Mr Adams also confirmed that Customs intelligence methods were constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Not only does the agency update its risk assessment on a regular basis, but the examination techniques are also reviewed consistently.

This month Customs managed to seize over 50kg of ephedrine in one week alone.

"Customs is focused on disrupting the supply chain at the border and catching those involved. We continue to work closely with international and local enforcement agencies including the Police to target drugs suppliers and dismantle criminal networks."

Last year, Customs made 2776 drugs seizures at the border. This included 283kg of meth and 938kg of its precursors, mainly ephedrine. This amount of ephedrine could have produced up to 265kg of meth with a street value of up to $548 million.

- NZ Herald

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