Friday, 17 April 2015 - 11:32am |
National News

Police and Customs seize $123 million of methamphetamine during dual drug operations

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Operation Wand

Detectives from the Police's Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ), working together with Customs, have seized 123 kilograms of methamphetamine during two successful pan-Auckland drug operations.

Detective Inspector Bruce Good said the scale and sophistication of the supply chains and manufacturing techniques that were infiltrated during Operation Wand and Operation Sorrento shows the ability of Police's OFCANZ and Customs to tackle organised criminal groups.

“During both Operation Wand and Operation Sorrento we shut down organised criminal groups who had gone to great lengths to avoid detection,” Mr Good said.

“This included new techniques for importation and production which we have not seen in New Zealand before.”

“Ultimately their efforts were in vain, mainly due to the expertise and the will of New Zealand’s law enforcement and border agencies to infiltrate and shut down organised criminal groups.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the successful terminations underline Police’s determination to target the trade in methamphetamine and the organised crime groups that run it.

"Methamphetamine is a significant driver of crime that does enormous damage to our communities. It ruins lives and destroys families and Police is determined to prevent the harm and victimisation it causes,” Commissioner Bush said.

In late March Police Detectives and Customs investigators executed a number of search warrants across the Auckland region during the termination phase of Operation Wand.

Mr Good said 83 kilograms of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of up to $83 million was seized during the operation.

“This included the discovery of $20 million worth of methamphetamine at a clan lab in Pakuranga,” Mr Good said.

“To find 20 kilograms ready or being prepared for market at one clan lab shows the scale of the organised criminal operation we have infiltrated during Operation Wand. Unfortunately it also suggests that the market for methamphetamine remains strong in New Zealand.”

Police and Customs also enjoyed similar success during the termination of Operation Sorrento in late March.

An additional $40 million of methamphetamine was discovered following the execution of multiple search warrants across Auckland.

Mr Good said Police are not aware of any links between the organised criminal groups involved in each operation.

“The terminations of Operation Wand and Operation Sorrento illustrate that there are a number of players involved in the importation, production and supply of methamphetamine in the Auckland region.”

Mr Good said Police and Customs staff from across the country worked on the dual terminations.

“Operation Wand and Operation Sorrento are great examples of government agencies working together to target organised crime. I would like to thank staff from Customs, OFCANZ and the Auckland, Counties Manukau, Canterbury and Southern Police Districts for their assistance.”

Customs Manager Investigations Maurice O’Brien says this is a very satisfying result that was achieved though the agencies sharing their resources and expertise towards the common goal of protecting society. 

Following the terminations of Operation Wand and Operation Sorrento nine people have been arrested and charged with a combination of methamphetamine related charges including importing, supply and possession.

Seven of those charged are Chinese or Hong Kong nationals while the remaining two are New Zealand citizens.


For more information contact Kevin Sinnott on 021 192 2917

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