Pair from Manakau netted in drugs bust
Two Horowhenua men have been caught up in a police raid which uncovered a major methamphetamine ring in the lower North Island.
Drugs, cars and cash valued at more than $2 million were seized during Wednesday's raids, which targeted the operations of a "sophisticated" criminal network.
Five people from three properties, including two from Manakau, two from the Hutt Valley and one person from Wellington, were arrested in the joint operation between Wellington police and Customs.
The drugs, said to be of high purity, had been concealed in LED lighting panels imported from Hong Kong and were intercepted by Customs at the border following intelligence obtained earlier, police said.
Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson said two men, aged 50 and 52, from Manakau, were arrested and charged with serious drug dealing offences in relation to importation and conspiracy to supply methamphetamine.
"A warrant was executed at a Manakau address where those two men were located and they appeared in the Wellington District Court yesterday," he said. "Significant amounts of cash and other assets were located at the Manakau address."
More than 2 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized at the properties - with an estimated street value of $1000 per gram.
More than $20,000 cash, and a BMW and a Mercedes motor vehicles were also seized in the raids.
Mr Thomson said the Manakau property was searched early in the afternoon on Wednesday.
"There were people at the address on our arrival," he said.
"Police executed the warrant and we had no issues in regard to the occupants.
"They were taken into custody without issue and we undertook a search of the property and surrounds."
Mr Thomson said the group was a "sophisticated syndicate".
"This group has been the subject of investigation over an extended period of time, and due to some excellent intelligence obtained, Customs intercepted the methamphetamine at the border and both agencies focused on this group's activity," he said.
Customers investigations manager Mark Day said the misery and destruction that methamphetamine caused New Zealand families was enormous.
"Police and Customs are committed to acting swiftly and effectively in identifying those involved in its distribution and ensuring they are held to account."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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