Three men arrested yesterday in connection to the country's largest ever seizure of the meth precursor ephedrine made their first appearance at Auckland District Court this morning.
The men, aged 31, 34 and 32 years old, have been granted interim name suppression.
They appeared in court with their heads bowed in the dock during the hearing.
One is facing a charge of possession of a B-class drug and the other two are facing two charges each; one of possession and one of importation of a B-class drug, namely ephedrine.
The maximum penalty for the charges is life imprisonment.
Their arrests followed the haul of 200kg of ephedrine, which is used to cook meth, at the border late last month.
It was the largest amount of the drug ever found in a single haul, and was hidden in 80 boxes of paper sent from China.
Rectangular holes had been cut in the stacks of paper inside many of the boxes to hide the drugs.
Police estimated the ephedrine had the potential to make up to $150 million of meth, otherwise known as "P".
Police then spent two weeks watching the occupant of an inner-city apartment in Auckland before carrying out search warrants at multiple residential addresses around Auckland yesterday.
Tina Cheung, junior counsel for all three men, requested a Mandarin interpreter for their next appearance.
She sought interim name suppression so the defendants' families would have time to inform their friends and other relatives of their arrests.
All three have been remanded without plea and are due to reappear before the courts on Tuesday June 7 at 10am.