Four people are appearing in the Manukau District Court today after Customs officers found about 22kg of cocaine and methamphetamine in their suitcases in two separate incidents at Auckland Airport yesterday.
Each individual is charged with the importation and possession for supply of a class A controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The two separate seizures by Customs have prevented an estimated $27.1 million of potential social harm to New Zealand and our communities.
Two New Zealand nationals, a Hamilton man, 30, and an Auckland woman, 20, arrived from Argentina on Sunday morning.
A search of their baggage found about 7kg of cocaine paste in the bases of their two suitcases.
This amount of cocaine would have had a street value of about $2.1 million in New Zealand.
In an unrelated incident, two Canadian women, a 21-year-old and a 26-year-old, arrived from Hong Kong later on Sunday morning.
A search of their baggage found an estimated 14.9kg of crystal methamphetamine in their four suitcases.
This amount would have had a street value of up to $7.5 million in New Zealand.
Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry said Customs was making an increasing number of arrests and drug seizures at New Zealand's international airports and these most recent arrests served as a further warning to drug couriers.
"Regardless of their nationalities or travel routes, Customs is working 24/7 to catch drug couriers. Individuals who attempt to smuggle illicit drugs should be prepared to face the full force of the law.
"Transnational drug cartels use different ways to try and smuggle drugs – by sea or air freight, by mail or through airports.
"To protect New Zealand, Customs keeps watch across our border, and uses intelligence and information to identify and respond to risk.
"The arrest of four drug couriers on Sunday are the latest examples of that good work."