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Northland Police make record seizure of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million

By   /  June 14, 2016  /  Comments Off on Northland Police make record seizure of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Police – Release/Statement

Headline: Northland Police make record seizure of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million

Source: New Zealand Police – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Northland Police make record seizure of methamphetamine with approx NZ street value of $448 million

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 – 8:23am

Northland Police have seized a record-breaking amount of methamphetamine in Kaitaia – 448 kilos, thought to have an approximate NZ street value of around $448 million dollars. (videos and pics available, pics attached to this email, video on dropbox link below)

Early on Sunday morning a boat was found abandoned on 90 Mile Beach, with a number of mesh bags in the back of it.

Police began searching for a Toyota Prado and a rental campervan , as information had been received that the occupants of these vehicles had been seen in the area in the past fortnight, acting suspiciously and trying to launch boats off the West Coast.

Police had also received information from members of the public that the men driving the campervan and the Toyota had been offering large amounts of cash to locals, in exchange for assistance to launch boats off the beach.

Police went to 90 Mile Beach to recover the boat and while they were busy doing this, the Toyota Prado drove past. The driver failed to stop for Police and a pursuit began. The vehicle stopped a short distance later at the Ahipara Golf Course.

A 31 year-old man and a 26 year-old man from Auckland were arrested and taken back to the Kaitaia Police Station.

Several hours later, Police saw the campervan driving at Totara North and stopped the vehicle.

Officers looked in the back of the campervan and saw what appeared to be multiple bags of methamphetamine.

The 19 year-old driver and the campervan were taken back to the Kaitaia Police Station, where a further search of the campervan found multiple suitcases and bags. Inside the suitcases and bags were dozens of plastic zip-lock bags, containing methamphetamine.

“This is without a doubt, the largest ever seizure of methamphetamine in New Zealand, and what is so great about this is that it’s not only the result of hard work by the Northland Police, but it’s the result of information we got from the community. We received notification of several cases of suspicious behaviour in the past few weeks, and that has allowed us to get to this point” says Superintendent Russell Le Prou, District Commander, Northland Police.

“Wherever this methamphetamine was headed, it was going to cause harm, and it’s thanks to the Kaitaia community, who were not going to tolerate this, that we’ve managed to stop the harm from this massive haul of meth” he says.

The seizure outstrips the total combined amount of methamphetamine seized in New Zealand in 2015, which totalled 334kg.

The methamphetamine has since been removed from the Kaitaia Police Station and investigations are now underway into where the methamphetamine had come from. Many of the bags showed signs of exposure to salt water on the outside.

Police and Customs believe the drugs have been retrieved from the waters off 90 Mile Beach. An ongoing joint investigation involving with Customs is underway into this aspect of the case.

Customs Investigations Manager Maurice O’Brien says Customs with continue to work with Police throughout the investigation, and will continue to do so to identify everyone involved and obtain all the relevant evidence.

All three men will appear in the Kaitaia District Court this morning, jointly charged with importing Class A drugs and Possession for supply of a class A drug, namely methamphetamine.

The investigation will be ongoing and Police would like to hear from anyone who may have noticed suspicious activity from anyone travelling in a Toyota Prado with a boat or travelling with a campervan in the Far North over the past two weeks to contact Kaitaia Police on 09 408 6500.

Information can also be given anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS 

Beth Bates/NZ Police

Six short clips of the methamphetamine can be downloaded from this dropbox;

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/99gtjmyieuxaipu/AADQ_c8G5csyPXjDOPQbjd2ra?dl=0

Supt Russell Le Prou is available for phone interview until 9.30am and will be in central Auckland for interview from 12.30pm until 1.30pm, please call Beth Bates on 021 192 1243 to organise a time. 

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