Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Meth bust: Police seize more P buried in dunes using GPS tracker

More methamphetamine has been found by police among sand dunes in Northland, adding to what is already the largest meth seizure in New Zealand history.

Police inquiries have been ongoing since the record find was discovered in the back of a campervan on Sunday night.

Coordinates in a GPS device found inside a Toyota Prado led police to sand dunes on the Hukatere region of 90 Mile Beach, close to where the original boat was left abandoned.

There they dug into the sand, and found another stash of bags full of methamphetamine, taking the total amount recovered now to 494kg.

A Toyota Prado SUV seized by Northland Police in connection with a record 448 kg methamphetamine bust. Photo / Northern Advocate
A Toyota Prado SUV seized by Northland Police in connection with a record 448 kg methamphetamine bust. Photo / Northern Advocate

The initial meth haul was 448kg, meaning yesterday's find added a further 46kg to the bust.

Police can also confirm that a second boat has been seized as part of the operation.

This boat was located at Ahipara address and was found damaged on a trailer, police said.

Police aren't ruling out the possibility an international drug ring is behind the enormous quantities of meth found.

The abandoned boat on 90 Mile Beach that led to the record-breaking methamphetamine haul. Photo / Supplied
The abandoned boat on 90 Mile Beach that led to the record-breaking methamphetamine haul. Photo / Supplied

Three men charged in connection with the methamphetamine haul have appeared in Kaitaia District Court.

The trio, aged 19, 26 and 31, are charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and importing methamphetamine

Judge Sharp remanded the men in custody till July 6 and granted interim name suppression.

The original quantity of the drug was valued at $500 million and was found in the back of a campervan.

It was discovered after members of the public reported suspicious vehicles in the area, and people trying to launch boats off the Far North's west coast.

Previous large drugs busts

• 2006 - Operation Major 10 was named for the previous largest methamphetamine bust in New Zealand, when 95kg was seized at Auckland Airport.
• March 2015 - Detectives and customs investigators working on Operation Wand seized 83kg of meth, with an estimated street value of up to $83m, following search warrants around Auckland. The haul included the discovery of $20m worth of meth at a clan lab in Pakuranga.
• March 2015 - In Operation Sorrento, police and customs seized $40 million of methamphetamine while carrying out searches across Auckland.
Combined, Operation Sorrento and Operation Wand lead to the arrests of nine people - seven Chinese or Hong Kong nationals and two New Zealand citizens - who are charged with a combination of methamphetamine related charges, including importing, supply and possession.
• March 2016 - Customs found 40kg of methamphetamine in a shipping container at Ports of Auckland. The drugs were hidden inside marble table-tops. More than $1m cash, and cars, including a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a BMW, a Porsche and a Mercedes Benz, were also seized. Four men - two New Zealanders and two foreign nationals, were arrested and faced charges related to the importation and supply of the drug.

- NZ Herald

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