A United States senior citizen is being held in custody in Auckland after Customs allegedly found methamphetamine valued at up to $6 million in the lining of his suitcase.
The 72-year-old man appeared in the Manukau District Court today charged with importing about 6.2 kilograms of methamphetamine or "P" with a street value between $3m to $6m into the country late last year. He will remain in custody until his next scheduled appearance in March.
Customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien said the man was questioned by customs officers when he arrived in Auckland from Bangkok on December 28.
He was arrested after officers found 6.2kg of a white crystalline substance concealed in the lining of his suitcase. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine.
O'Brien said it appeared criminal syndicates were targeting older people to carry significant amounts of drugs across borders.
Two other US nationals, aged 70 and 55, were arrested and charged with importing methamphetamine into Australia last week.
A 68-year-old Auckland man was arrested in November after he arrived from Papua New Guinea carrying 1.5kg of methamphetamine concealed inside two bags.
The maximum penalty for importing class A controlled drugs into New Zealand is life imprisonment.
- Fairfax Media