Two more men have been given lengthy jail terms for importing the country's largest ever seizure of methamphetamine after it was landed on Ninety Mile Beach.
Ulakai Fakaosilea, and Jeremiah Iusitini appeared in the High Court at Whangārei on Monday for their roles in importing almost half a tonne of the drug in June 2016.
A group picked up almost half a tonne of methamphetamine, also known as P, from a boat out to sea and landed it onto the beach.
Iusitini, 29, an Australian national, was sentenced to 25 years and seven months, with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years. The court herd that Iusitini was the senior figure of the group responsible for collecting the meth once it had been dropped to shore.
Fakaosilea, also aged 29, has been sentenced to 22 years and nine months, with a minimum non-parole period of eight years and nine months. He had been deported from Australia only 10 days before the drugs came ashore.
Both men were charged with importing methamphetamine and participating in an organised criminal group.
Police recovered 494kg of methamphetamine on June 19, 2016, some of it buried in dunes behind Ninety Mile Beach, but the majority, 448kg, from a campervan at Totara North. The haul had an estimated street value at the time of almost half a billion dollars.
Iusitini instructed another person to buy boxes and hire a campervan, all of which were to be used to store and move the methamphetamine once it arrived here.
He also instructed that person to take about 50kg of the drug to a nearby location hidden in the sand dunes.
On June 5, 2016 a boat was bought in Taipa for $40,000 in cash and June 9, a group of men tried to launch it on Ninety Mile Beach, which raised the interest of locals, as it was not a spot that a boat could be easily launched from, especially the type of boat the men had.
However, the boat was damaged during the launch. Another boat was then bought in Auckland for $98,000 in cash.
That same night members of the group returned to Ninety Mile Beach, launched the second boat and picked up 494kg of the drug that had been dropped out to sea. The boat was later found abandoned on the beach.
As police were investigating reports of strange behaviour, two suspects drove past and were chased by officers and arrested. A short time later, police stopped a suspicious looking campervan, which they pulled over and found 448kg of meth inside.
The sentencing of the two men on Monday is the latest lengthy jail term handed down to those involved.
Malachi Tuilotolava, 26, an Australian national of Tongan heritage, was sentenced last year to 24 years in jail for his role.
He helped buy and launch a boat from a remote beach in Northland which travelled about 12km out to sea and returned carrying half a tonne of methamphetamine.
Three others - Ka Yip Wan, 26, Amoki Matoto Fonua, 32, and another man who has permanent name suppression - have already received prison terms for their involvement. Wan was jailed for 23 years, Fonua 22 years and the unidentified man 12 years.
One other person allegedly involved in the haul, who has name suppression, has pleaded not guilty.