Two more people charged in connection with the record seizure of methamphetamine on Ninety Mile Beach have pleaded guilty after earlier electing a jury trial.
Ulakai Fakaosilea, 27, and Jeremia Iusitini, 28, entered their pleas in the High Court at Whangārei yesterday to one charge of importing meth and another of participating in an organised criminal group.
Police recovered a whopping 494kg of methamphetamine on Ninety Mile Beach, in the Far North, on June 19, 2016.
The majority of the class A drug - 448kg - was found in a campervan at Totara North while the rest was found buried in sand dunes at the beach.
The haul - the largest ever discovered in New Zealand - had an estimated value of $494 million, and outstripped the 334kg of meth seized in New Zealand in 2015.
Fakaosilea and Iusitini were remanded in custody for sentencing on August 29.
Justice Kit Toogood called for a pre-sentence report, and a whanau report for Fakaosilea.
Their guilty pleas followed the earlier sentencing of four people to lengthy prison terms for their involvement in the meth importation, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Iusitini instructed another person to purchase boxes and hire a campervan, all of which were to be used to store and move the methamphetamine once it arrived here.
He also instructed that person to take about 50kg of the drug to a nearby location hidden in the sand dunes.
Malachi Tuilotolava, 26, an Australian national of Tongan heritage, was sentenced last year to 24 years in jail for his role.
He helped purchase and launch a boat from a remote beach in Northland which travelled about 12km out to sea and returned carrying half a tonne of methamphetamine. He also helped unload the drugs.
Three others - Ka Yip Wan, 26, Amoki Matoto Fonua, 32, and another man who has permanent name suppression - have already received lengthy prison terms for their involvement.
Wan was jailed for 23 years, Fonua 22 years and the unidentified man 12 years.
Stevie Cullen, 34, and another person, who has name suppression, have pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.
Two boats and cash seized by police during the meth bust could be forfeited to the Crown.