After months of negotiation, a Polish man has been successfully extradited from Venezuela to New Zealand to face drugs and money laundering charges. He may be the final piece in a more than three-year police investigation.

A gaunt-looking man stood in an Auckland courtroom this week - he had just spent more than a year in a Venezuelan prison.

The 57-year-old, sporting a greying beard, looked little like the man who was arrested last July in the city of Maiquetía after Interpol issued a global wanted notice.

Ryszard Wilk had left New Zealand in April 2017 but he was quickly hunted by international and local authorities, including the National Organised Crime Group.

He was accused of being part of a conspiracy led by a mystery West African mastermind, who was allegedly orchestrating the importation of drugs