$50m meth haul hidden among safety lights
Police say more arrests are likely after they seized $50 million of methamphetamine destined for the streets of Christchurch.
The South Island’s largest haul of the drug came when a 49-kilogram shipment was discovered in 40 packages hidden among a cargo of safety lights on November 1.
The operation ended on Tuesday with armed raids in Christchurch and Auckland.
Two Christchurch men, aged 25 and 31, appeared in the Christchurch District Court yesterday charged with importing a class A drug and possession of methamphetamine for supply.
They were granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody until Monday.
Canterbury district crime manager Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell said the drugs were brought into Christchurch from Mexico in packages weighing between 1kg and 1.2kg.
The drugs had a potential street value of $50m and the seizure prevented $60m worth of additional community harm, he said.
Police believed much of the drug was ‘‘destined to end up on the streets of Christchurch’’.
Parnell said the investigation was still ‘‘in its infancy’’, with further arrests likely.
‘‘We have significant inquiries ahead of us in terms of both Customs, police and other government agencies.’’
‘‘Our team has worked relentlessly over the last fortnight to bring this operation to the state it’s in today.
‘‘These drugs, should they have made it to the streets, would have caused significant harm to people and communities, not just in Canterbury, but across the country.’’
Methamphetamine wrecked lives, broke down families and negatively impacted the community, he said.
‘‘It takes enforcement and a whole-of-Government approach, along with education to reduce demand and victimisation caused by this drug.’’
Customs manager Joe Cannon said the methods people were using to bring drugs into the country were ‘‘constantly evolving’’.
‘‘There’s always an incentive to bring this product into the country because of the price it fetches.
‘‘This seizure was the result of risk-profiling and targeting work that Customs carries out for all goods, people and craft coming into New Zealand – whatever the region or method of import.’’