A British national accused of supplying a Class A drug after a high-profile $144 million drug bust has admitted his role in the offending.

James Edward Woodley pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of methamphetamine for supply this morning.

He appeared briefly in the Auckland High Court before Justice Sally Fitzgerald, who entered his conviction and remanded him in custody.

Woodley will be sentenced on April 21.


A second British man also charged in the case denies the single charge he faces.

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At the time of the arrests last August police alleged two men in Auckland had been caught with more than 200kg of methamphetamine - worth about $144 million on the street.

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

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

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

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

Police said the meth seized had a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police
Police said the meth seized had a street value of about $144m. Photo / NZ Police