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Source: New Zealand Police (National News)

It wasn’t the choice of a red or blue pill, but rather the red and blue lights of Police who caught up with two men in Auckland over the long weekend.

Detective Inspector Tom Gollan, from Police’s National Organised Crime Group, says Police alongside our partners at New Zealand Customs Service, have dismantled an Australian Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) cell under Operation Matrix. 

In the process, cocaine at a retail value of $7.65 million has been prevented from communities in either Australia or New Zealand.

“One the evening of Saturday 1 June at a commercial address in Onehunga, Police arrested two men alleged to be breaking into a container to retrieve cocaine that had been concealed.

“It is alleged that 17 kilograms of the illegal substance was removed from a shipping container.”

Police will allege the two men, an Australian national and a New Zealander living in Australia, entered the country specifically to retrieve the drugs.

Police believe the pair are members of an organised criminal syndicate.

Detective Inspector Gollan says the two males were arrested as they left a container yard on electric scooters. 

“They left behind a ladder that had transported to the yards by way of the scooters.

“Both men, aged 33 and 42, have since been charged with burglary and the possession for supply of cocaine.

“They have appeared in the Auckland District Court and are due to reappear on Tuesday 25 June 2024.”

Further enquiries into the significant seizure established the container originated from Brazil and transited through Brisbane, Australia, before arriving at the Ports of Auckland in late May 2024.

If sold in retail amounts the value of cocaine seized is $7,650,000, however at this stage it is not yet clear if it was for the New Zealand or Australian market.

“This is the 26th TNOC Operational Cell that has been identified and dismantled since 2017,” Inspector Gollan says.

“It is disconcerting to see overseas transnational organised groups insert their people into New Zealand to facilitate these crimes and demonstrates their willingness to profit from community misery.

“While these TNOC groups continue to evolve and adapt their offending to avoid detection, but so do we, and yet again we were one rung ahead of them.”

Dominic Adams, Customs’ Manager Investigations, says this successful seizure highlights that however much these criminal groups may try, Police and Customs will remain a step ahead.

“We are ever-vigilant to stopping the harm that dangerous substances such as cocaine can cause our communities.”


Anna Thompson/NZ Police