15 years jail for huge meth haul in golf carts
A Taiwanese man who helped smuggle 110kg of methamphetamine into the country hidden inside golf carts now faces up to 15 years behind bars.
Customs officers made the spectacular drug bust last year when they found the meth concealed inside batteries in three six- seater electric golf carts.
Seizing some of the meth, Customs teams then replaced it with a harmless substance in a dramatic sting that ultimately led to the capture of Yu Chiu Tan.
The 40- year- old Yu subsequently pleaded guilty to importing the class
A drug into NZ from the United States.
In the High Court at Auckland, Justice Matthew Palmer yesterday sentenced Yu to 15- and- a- half- years in prison with a minimum period of seven years behind bars.
Crown prosecutor Dennis Dow earlier equated the 110kg import of meth from Long Beach in California to causing about $ 136 million worth of “societal harm”. The total haul across all 24 batteries was 110kg.
He said Yu took part in the operation solely to make a buck.
Dow pointed to how Yu extracted the drugs — some of which had by then been replaced with the harmless substance — from the golf cart batteries, paid freight fees and arranged rental properties to store the goods.
However, Yu’s defence lawyer David Niven argued his client had a “lesser role” in the operation.
Yu performed all the “high risk” parts of the trafficking operation, including going to a freight office to pay for the transport costs of the golf carts. These were “high visibility” jobs where Yu would be photographed by security cameras.
Justice Palmer concluded Yu had played a significant role in the smuggling operation, although not as serious as prosecutors argued.