Cops follow crumbs to big drug haul

Last updated 12:03 16/12/2013
Drug Bust
NZ Police

BUSTED: Police found 248kg of ContacNT and 16kg of pure Ephedrine. It would have been enough to make $72 million of methamphetamine.

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Police have found enough precursor material hidden in a shipping container to make $72 million of P.

Yesterday's find at Ports of Auckland was part of Operation Ghost, which had already uncovered enough Class-B drug ContacNT to make $100 million of methamphetamine.

Police and Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ) staff found 248 kilograms of pseudoephedrine and 16kg of ephedrine disguised as "legitimately imported commercial goods" - reportedly bags of bread crumbs in a container off a ship from China.

OFCANZ Detective Inspector Bruce Good said there were no new arrests as a result of the find but some of people already charged as part of the operation would be facing further counts.

"While we were confident our intelligence was accurate it was still a huge relief when we opened the shipping container at the Customs inspection facility and the drugs were discovered," he said.

The 18-month operation involved several government agencies as well as the National Narcotics Control Commission from the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau.

Good said the investigation has almost finished but would not rule out further drug seizures.

"This is certainly a significant seizure," he said.

"This group of alleged offenders have brought in a terrific amount of drugs but they're not the only ones doing it unfortunately."

Good feared other criminals would "fill the void in the supply chain" but OFCANZ would work hard to shut them down.

Earlier this month, in raids across Waikato and Auckland, 250 police seized more than 330kg of ContacNT, enough to make $100 million of P. Twenty-four people were arrested and up to $20 million of assets seized including property, cars and cash.

ContacNT is manufactured legally in China but it is a class B controlled drug in New Zealand.

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