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Source: New Zealand Government

The Minister of Police says an operation to smash a trans national drug smuggling ring today will make a significant impact on the methamphetamine trade fuelling harm in our communities.

Police have announced 10 arrests and the seizure of up to five million dollars’ worth of illicit drugs after an eight month long investigation known as Operation Mystic.

“Police allege those arrested in this operation have smuggled more than a tonne of methamphetamine, MDMA, cocaine and ephedrine into New Zealand over three years,” Stuart Nash said.

“Wastewater analysis indicates between 13 and 15 kg of methamphetamine are consumed each week. The operation has disrupted more than one year’s consumption of the drug. Areas like Northland and the East Coast are particularly badly affected.

“Those arrested in this operation include business professionals accused of money laundering. They are part of a wide network involving citizens from Chile, Brazil, the Philippines and Italy. Search warrants have been carried out at 11 Auckland properties.

“Illegal firearms, more than one million dollars in cash, and luxury vehicles have also been seized.

“Organised crime in New Zealand is causing harm in our communities. Police are committed to disrupting and dismantling the networks behind the scourge of methamphetamine and other illicit drugs.

“White collar professionals are driving offending by gangs who are involved in the distribution of the drugs. Our response to organised crime requires a coordinated approach using all of the tools at our disposal.

“Police will strip them of their assets. Law enforcement agencies co-operate across international networks through intelligence sharing. The Coalition Government has put a record number of Police on the frontline with a specific focus on organised crime.

“Through the health system and other agencies we are also targeting the factors causing addiction, which drives the demand for methamphetamine. This is a long term challenge for government and community agencies,” Mr Nash said.