A man who hid 113kg of methamphetamine in avocado pulp to smuggle it into the country has been sent to jail for more than 10 years.
Victor Martos was sentenced in the Auckland High Court today for his role in the 2019 smuggling operation between Mexico and Auckland.
The 37-year-old arrived in New Zealand from Mexico in April 2019 and had told Customs officials he was here with family for a 15-day holiday.
Customs said Martos had been in contact with a Mexico-based freight forwarder and they had negotiated with an Auckland-based fresh produce importer about bringing avocado pulp into New Zealand.
The New Zealand fresh produce importer was not implicated in the smuggling operation, Customs said.
A trial run was conducted on March 27, 2019 where a consignment of frozen avocado pulp was sent from Mexico to a company in Auckland without any controlled drugs, Customs said.
A few days later on March 30, a second shipment of avocado pulp was sent to a different Auckland address.
The polystyrene boxes containing the puree had false bottom compartments, which held eight packets of methamphetamine wrapped in brown packaging tape, Customs said.
Martos was arrested the next day, after he used a hired van to move some of the polystyrene boxes to an Auckland storage unit.
He was charged with the importation and possession for supply of the class A controlled drug.
Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said the meth seizure was one of the largest at the time.
"Martos and his associates went through a lot of effort to research the industry to try and beat authorities, but Customs' own intelligence and partnership networks meant we were also working equally hard to stop them.
"These organised criminal groups have no regard for the social impact, health costs, and the associated harm that methamphetamine brings on our society."