Customs seized more than a tonne of drugs in the first six months of this year, preventing $1 billion of potential harm to New Zealand communities.

The haul included about 434kg of methamphetamine, 407kg of MDMA, and 8kg of cocaine.

As international crime syndicates seek to exploit top-dollar prices in New Zealand, police and Customs are nabbing bigger busts of illicit drugs. Chelsea Boyle looks at some of the biggest hauls in the last year.

August 2019 - mega meth bust

Two British nationals in Auckland were allegedly busted with more than 200kg of methamphetamine - worth about $144 million on the street market - after police targeted members of an international crime syndicate.

Police arrested a 60-year-old British man after raiding a central city apartment and allegedly finding a wardrobe full of cardboard packing boxes which contained methamphetamine.

The second man, 49, - who police allege assisted the first - was arrested at the airport as he allegedly tried to flee the country.

Both are due to appear in court in the coming weeks.

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One of the plastic containers containing methamphetamine. Photo / NZ Police
One of the plastic containers containing methamphetamine. Photo / NZ Police

August 2019 - snow on Bethells Beach bound for Oz

About $3 million of cocaine, believed once destined for Australia, washed up on Bethells Beach in West Auckland and was discovered by locals walking along the shoreline.

Police found 20 tightly wrapped blue packages of cocaine at the scene.

In August 2018, occupants of a rigid inflatable boat off the northern New South Wales coast were seen offloading cocaine into the sea and were arrested.

New Zealand police believe the cocaine found on Bethells Beach appears to have been part of the same shipment, as both the markings and packaging of the drugs was consistent with that seized in Australia.

Police are investigating the $3 million find. Photo / NZ Police
Police are investigating the $3 million find. Photo / NZ Police

August 2019 - 17 properties raided across the country

Police arrested 10 people and seized more than $1m in cash and assets after a 10-month long methamphetamine investigation.

Operation Maddale seized 20kg of methamphetamine, with a street value of more than $12m.

More than 150 police staff performed search warrants at 17 residential and commercial properties throughout the wider Auckland, Canterbury and Southland districts.

Auckland suburbs targeted included New Lynn, Blockhouse Bay, Avondale, Manukau, Mt Eden, Grey Lynn, Karaka, Greenlane, Manurewa and Northcote.

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Several high-end vehicles including a Porsche Macan, Jeep Wrangler and three Harley Davidsons were seized during the raids.

Jewellery, including a necklace worth more than $70,000, was also seized.

One of the motorcycles seized from Bentinck St, New Lynn. Photo / NZ Herald
One of the motorcycles seized from Bentinck St, New Lynn. Photo / NZ Herald

July 2019 - dirty cash & a 'sophisticated' meth scheme

Two Australian men were arrested as Customs seized up to 100kg of methamphetamine with a street value of up to $50m.

The duo allegedly imported and possessed between 70kg and 100kg of methamphetamine, hidden inside plastic storage pallets.

Customs said the concealment method used "quite sophisticated and not easily identifiable".

The search of the West Auckland home of one of the accused allegedly uncovered up to $50,000 cash, hidden inside a dishwasher and inside a backpack.

The concealed money. Photo / NZ Customs
The concealed money. Photo / NZ Customs

June/July 2019 - logging vessel Bunun Justice raided in Tauranga

Two men were busted in Tauranga after allegedly importing 25kg of ephedrine.

Customs officers patrolling the Port of Tauranga questioned a 33-year-old who arrived on the logging vessel Bunun Justice on June 28.

When he attempted to return to the ship, Customs officers advised both he and the Bunun Justice would be searched - a decision that allegedly uncovered 13kg of ephedrine.

Investigations linked the man to a second male in Tauranga, also a foreign national, who was allegedly discovered with 12kg of ephedrine in his possession.

Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said the two arrests were the result of "quick thinking".

Both of the accused men have pleaded not guilty in court.

Ephedrine was seized by Customs and police. Photo / Supplied
Ephedrine was seized by Customs and police. Photo / Supplied

May 2019 - Kiwis and cocaine paste

Two New Zealand nationals, a Hamilton man, 30, and an Auckland woman, 20, arrived back in the country from Argentina on May 5.

A search of their baggage found about 7kg of cocaine paste in the bases of their two suitcases.

The cocaine would have had a street value of about $2.1m in New Zealand.

The cocaine paste was found in two suitcases. Photo / NZ Customs
The cocaine paste was found in two suitcases. Photo / NZ Customs

May 2019 - Canadian women allegedly stow $7.5m of meth

Two Canadian women, aged 21 and 26, arrived in New Zealand from Hong Kong on May 5.

A search of their baggage allegedly found about 14.9kg of crystal methamphetamine in their four suitcases.

It would have had a street value of up to $7.5m in New Zealand.

About 14.9kg of methamphetamine was discovered in four suitcases. Photo / NZ Customs
About 14.9kg of methamphetamine was discovered in four suitcases. Photo / NZ Customs

February 2019 - crystal meth concealed in golf carts

Two men protested their innocence after allegedly trying to smuggle 110kg of methamphetamine and two handguns into New Zealand inside golf cart batteries.

The large quantity of "ice-like" methamphetamine had a street value of about $55m.

A Taiwanese national, 39, and a Chinese national, 27, were arrested by Customs over the seizure.

A close-up of an opened cart battery. Photo / NZ Customs
A close-up of an opened cart battery. Photo / NZ Customs

2018 - the banana container bust

Police and Customs found more than 190kg of cocaine parcelled within five duffel bags and stowed on top of banana boxes inside a shipping container in August last year.

It was the biggest bust of the drug in New Zealand history.

The cocaine had an estimated harm value of more than $235m and would have had a street value of $28m to $36m.

The ship arrived in Auckland on August 20 after leaving Balboa, Panama, earlier that month.

A joint investigation concluded in November with the arrest of the 41-year-old in Sydney.

The parcelled cocaine found within the shipping container. Image / File
The parcelled cocaine found within the shipping container. Image / File