Police are trying to track the activities of an Australian couple allegedly linked to an international cocaine syndicate who are believe to have stored "items of interest'' somewhere in Auckland.
Beaumont Basil Blake and Kathryn Anne Iorfino have been located by police - Blake has been arrested and police are speaking to Iorfino - but police want to know about their activities in the Auckland area from February 28 until March 4.
Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Cahill confirmed they were suspected to be linked to a drug bust last week in which 2kg of cocaine destined for Australia was found on a "drug courier'' in Auckland.
"They were in Auckland all of last week basically and we believe they have stored items which are of interest to us somewhere in Auckland,'' he said.
Last week's cocaine seizure and arrest followed a series of busts in Australia over the past few months in which over 18kg of cocaine originating from the syndicate was seized.
As a result of investigations undertaken on both sides of the Tasman, three other men were arrested in New Zealand.
Charges laid range from importing a Class A controlled drug, Conspiracy to export a Class A controlled drug, and possession and supply of a Class A controlled drug.
Australian police said the syndicate was using New Zealand as a "staging point'' to coordinate distribution of cocaine into Australia.
Mr Cahill said he was confident the New Zealand arrests would spell an end to the New Zealand side of the operation.
"We're comfortable we've successfully dealt with the New Zealand side. The Australians have had very good success but they may have further success as well.''
It was not thought any of the drugs seized had been intended for the New Zealand market, "but it was probably only a matter of time before the lucrative price that cocaine can fetch in New Zealand would have led to some being sold here,'' Mr Cahill said.
The New Zealand bust was the result of a joint operation involving the Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ), Australian Federal Police, Queensland police and Australian and New Zealand Customs.
The 2kg of cocaine would have been worth over $1.5 million once it was cut and distributed on the streets, police said.
The cocaine seizure is the latest in several recently with links to New Zealand.
Last month an American man was caught at Auckland International Airport with up to $1 million-worth of liquid cocaine hidden in tequila bottles.
In December, five people - including two men who were contractors helping to rebuild Christchurch - were arrested after more than $1 million of the drugs was found hidden in the suitcase of a man who arrived on a flight from Chile.
That cocaine haul came three months after a 37-year-old Colombian woman died in Auckland Hospital after an internally concealed package of cocaine burst inside her.
And two New Zealanders, Tony Wilkinson, and Kirsty Harris, were arrested along with an Australian man after nearly 6kg of cocaine was found during a search of a P&O cruise liner docked at the Port of San Francisco last month.
Police would like to hear from anyone who has information about Blake, who is an Australian citizen and may have used Australian identification, or Iorfino, who may have used either Australian or Italian identification.
They can call Detective Senior Sergeant Cahill on 09 2590628 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111