Police bust Nigerian drug ring in Woodville

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 10:28 13/12/2013

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Nigerians allegedly led a multi-million-dollar drug ring from Woodville.

Police searched eight properties in Woodville and Auckland on December 5, arresting ten people, after a 68-year-old Auckland man was caught returning to the country from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, last month with 1.5kg of methamphetamine.

Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said the man had been recruited by expatriate Nigerian drug dealers and believed he made the trip believing he was going to be given a large amount of money.

The drugs, concealed in two bags given to the man had a street value of $1.5 million dollars and were found by customs officers who profiled the man on his return at Auckland International Airport.

The find led to a five-week joint OFCANZ and NZ Customs Service investigation that identified two further importations of methamphetamine totalling over 1.2 kilograms and valued at $1.2 million, and the issuing of the search warrants.

The ten people arrested face a host of charges including importing a class A controlled drug and possession of class A drugs for supply.

Mr Schmid said the leaders of the drug ring were Nigerian expatriates based in Auckland and Woodville.

"This investigation demonstrates that the New Zealand drug market is being targeted by organised crime syndicates from every corner of the globe," Mr Schmid said.

Customs spokesman Maurice O'Brien said the case should serve as a reminder that people travelling overseas should never carry luggage that didn't belong to them.

"New Zealand travellers should remain vigilant at all times in respect of their personal security and that of their luggage," Mr O'Brien said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Aaron Pascoe, from the Auckland Financial Crime Unit, who regularly deals with scam victims, said once victims stop sending money they are often contacted by criminals pretending to be law enforcement officers.

"The scammers then advise that the victim's money has been recovered and that they should travel overseas to collect it," Mr Pascoe said. "In this way the scammers continue to have influence over their victims."

"The public need to remember that if an investment or other financial matter sounds too good to be true it more than likely will be'.

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- Manawatu Standard

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