Four men charged after allegedly trying to bring $5.5 million meth into New Zealand

Members of an alleged drug-smuggling syndicate who were trying to bring $5.5 million worth of methamphetamine into New Zealand have been arrested here and in Fiji.

Four men, a 50-year-old New Zealand national, a 33-year-old Chinese national, a 60-year-old Canadian national, and a 19-year-old US national, were arrested by police in New Zealand last week.

On February 13, they appeared in the Auckland District Court facing a number of drug and money laundering charges.

The investigation began in late December after New Zealand Customs staff detected 5 kgs of methamphetamine hidden inside a cooking appliance.

Further inquiries led to two further seizures of methamphetamine, also hidden inside cooking appliances, totalling 6 kgs.

The methamphetamine seized by police. Source: NZ Police

Two investigators from the National Organised Crime Group were also in Fiji supporting local police as they executed a number of search warrants and detained people linked to the group.

At one address in Suva, their efforts resulted in a seizure of 39 kgs of cocaine with a street value of about $30 million in Fiji and $19.5 million in New Zealand.

The methamphetamine was smuggled in cooking appliances. Source: NZ Police

A Canadian national was arrested later in connection with the find and police believe the man is connected to the group arrested in New Zealand.

"This investigation shows the strength of New Zealand working with its close partners in the Pacific region to combat transnational organised crime groups intent on supplying methamphetamine and cocaine into the New Zealand markets," says Detective Inspector Newman.

Police say their inquiries are ongoing and they cannot rule out further charges being laid.

Source: NZ Police.