Customs seize over 700kgs of drugs in first six months

By Sarah Harris

NZ Customs seized over 700kgs of drugs in the first six months this year.
NZ Customs seized over 700kgs of drugs in the first six months this year.

Over half a tonne of drugs have been seized by vigilant customs staff in the last six months.

From January to June customs made 1634 seizures of class A, B and C drugs. This includes almost 143 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 575 kilograms of its precursor ephedrine.

Drug smugglers proved ever-inventive with their hiding places stashing 35kgs of cocaine into a diamante-encrusted horse, 200kgs of the P precursor ephedrine into a shipment of paper and 20kgs of P was slipped into the lining of two suitcases.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said this could be another record year for drug seizures.

"Whether it's a suitcase of methamphetamine or an envelope of ecstasy, Customs is preventing the harmful effects of these drugs on our communities. I commend Customs officers for their work every single day.

"Drugs can be sourced cheaply in some countries and the high prices in New Zealand make us an attractive market. Criminals attempt to smuggle drugs into the country using any way they can think of."

Wagner said the 2016 budget invested $8.6million to increase protection and get more detector dogs.

"The fact that Customs is making drugs seizures of all sizes, on a daily basis, suggests the many systems that are in place to protect our border are working well."

At the end of July, customs officers found a $20 million haul of meth hidden in spatulas. Staff intercepted an air cargo shipment from Hong Kong of 80 boxes of 24-piece spatula sets. Each set came with a 250 gram methamphetamine packet hidden under the box, adding to approximately 20 kilograms.

- NZ Herald

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