Two British nationals in Auckland have been busted with more than 200kg of methamphetamine - worth about $144 million on the street market.

Detective Inspector Paul Newman said a major drug operation dubbed Operation Essex had targeted members of an overseas criminal organisation working in New Zealand.

Police arrested a 60-year-old British man at an apartment complex in central Auckland after allegedly finding methamphetamine stowed away in 11 boxes in a wardrobe.

He was charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and has been remanded in custody without plea. He will next appear in the Auckland District Court.

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Police allege a second man, 49, was aiding him, Newman said.

"We found the second male at the airport trying to flee the country."

He also has been charged with possession of methamphetamine for supply and remanded in custody. He will next appear in the Manukau District Court.

The meth seized has a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police
The meth seized has a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police

Newman said police were making inquiries with law enforcement agencies abroad "to try and work out the threat that this syndicate poses to New Zealand".

"New Zealand is being targeted by overseas criminal networks looking to exploit our families and communities for their own gain."

Both New Zealand and Australia attracted high prices of these kinds of drugs, he said.

"To give you an example, a kilo of methamphetamine sourced in a place like Mexico will cost you about $5000, over here that's $150,000.

"We know that our country is being targetted by offshore criminal syndicates that see New Zealand as a very lucrative drug market."

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This was a significant amount to seize in one haul, he said.

"Wastewater analysis indicates New Zealanders are using about 16kg of methamphetamine a week," he said.

"The quantity seized, then, is equivalent to four months of national methamphetamine consumption.

"This will significantly upset the distribution around New Zealand."

Newman said he wanted to acknowledge the hardworking detectives who worked on the operation over the past couple of months.

"This quantity of methamphetamine would have caused an extraordinary amount of harm and we would have all suffered as a result."

The meth seized has a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police
The meth seized has a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police

washed up on Bethells Beach in West Auckland this week.

Police in the area were called to the west coast beach after locals found 19 square packages on the beach. They tested positive for cocaine.