A New Zealander who was arrested one year ago as a result of the so-called "sting of the century" has pleaded guilty to drug importation and money laundering charges.
The man appeared before Justice Kiri Tahana in the High Court at Auckland this morning as he entered guilty pleas to four charges.
Other charges against the man will be dropped, Crown prosecutor David Johnstone said.
Justice Tahana declined a request by NZME and Stuff for the agreed summary of facts regarding the case. Another judge granted the man interim name suppression earlier this week, in anticipation of today's arraignment.
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The man agreed that between January 2018 and March 2020 he conspired with others to import Class A drugs into New Zealand, including methamphetamine from China and cocaine from South America.
From May to August 2019 he supplied methamphetamine to another person who made deliveries in Auckland and Waikato, and on four dates in June 2019 he was in possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of sale to others while in Auckland, Cambridge and Fairy Springs, according to the guilty pleas.
Additionally, he admitted to engaging in money laundering with others from April to August 2019.
Hundreds of people were arrested last year - including dozens in New Zealand - due to Operation Trojan Shield, in which millions of conversations on a fake encrypted network resulted in globally coordinated raids. The communications platform had been thought to be impossible for law enforcement to intercept but had actually been created by the FBI and the Australian Federal Police, law enforcement officials said at the time.
The sting bookended with an ongoing investigation in New Zealand into an alleged drug smuggling operation. The man who pleaded guilty today, along with multiple other people, were arrested as a result.
A preliminary sentencing date for the man has been set for next month.