New Zealand police yesterday said that they had arrested two British men after finding a huge stash of methamphetamine in an Auckland apartment that would have been worth tens of millions of dollars if sold on the street.
Police said that they have been targeting a foreign criminal organization working in New Zealand as part of what they are calling “Operation Essex.”
The bust was one of the largest of its type in New Zealand, they said.
Police said that they last week searched the apartment and found plastic storage containers inside cardboard packing boxes that were filled with more than 200kg of meth with a street value of NZ$144 million (US$93.4 million).
In part due to New Zealand’s isolated location, drugs like methamphetamine tend to fetch a higher price than in many other parts of the world.
Detective Inspector Paul Newman told reporters that police arrested a 60-year-old man at the apartment and a 49-year-old man at Auckland Airport.
Both men remain in jail and have been charged with possessing methamphetamine with intent to supply, he said.
“We’re making inquiries with police liaison officers overseas and hopefully tapping into our law enforcement partners overseas to try and work out the threat that this syndicate poses to New Zealand,” Newman said.
In an unrelated drug find, police yesterday said that they believe that packages of cocaine that washed up on an Auckland beach earlier this week likely drifted for a year and over hundreds of kilometers across the Tasman Sea from Australia.
In August last year, Australian authorities intercepted an inflatable boat off the northern coast of New South Wales, Detective Inspector Colin Parmenter said, adding that two people who were arrested at the time were seen dumping packages of cocaine into the ocean.
Most of the cocaine had since been recovered, Parmenter said, adding that the drugs that washed up in New Zealand matched the markings and packaging of the Australian drugs.
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