A mother and son have been arrested over a Cook Islands tobacco smuggling ring operating out of Auckland.
New Zealand Customs Service officials say the offending is thought to have spanned at least 18 months, and involved 79.6 kgs of intercepted tobacco and $113,422 in evaded duties & GST.
A 34-year-old New Zealand man, believed by customs to be the syndicate’s organiser, was arrested at Auckland Airport yesterday when returning from Rarotonga.
Customs investigators, with the assistance of NZ Police, then executed search warrants at residences this morning, leading to the arrest of a 52-year-old New Zealand woman who is the mother of the man arrested yesterday.
Several stolen vehicles were recovered during the search, and small amounts of cannabis, MDMA and cocaine were seized.
Customs say the two individuals arrested are believed to be linked to organised crime in Auckland.