Police in New Zealand and Fiji have disrupted a group of people allegedly involved in importing methamphetamine from the United States into New Zealand.
Last week Police made a number of arrests in New Zealand and in Fiji as part of Operation Nova.
The investigation began in late December after New Zealand Customs staff detected 5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden inside a cooking appliance.
Further enquiries by NZ Police have resulted in two further seizures of methamphetamine, also hidden inside cooking appliances, totalling 6 kilograms.
Overall, the combined 11kg seizure of methamphetamine has a street value of $5.5 million and has prevented $13 million of social harm.
“Following subsequent work by Police, a small syndicate was linked to the alleged imports,” says Detective Inspector Paul Newman, National Organised Crime Group.
Last week four men were arrested by Police in New Zealand.
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 are currently facing a number of drug and money laundering charges.
They appeared in the Auckland District Court on 13 February.
Meanwhile, two National Organised Crime Group investigators have been in Fiji supporting the local authorities with their enquiries.
Fijian Police have 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 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of about $30 million in Fiji ($19.5m in New Zealand).
This had the potential to cause $46.14 million of social harm to our communities.
A Canadian national was subsequently arrested in connection with the find. 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.
“It is well understood that these illicit drugs are the cause of significant social harm to our communities.”
Detective Inspector Newman says the investigation has further strengthened the working relationship between Police in New Zealand and Fiji.
At this stage Police enquiries are still ongoing and we cannot rule out further charges being laid.
Due to the nature of ongoing operations and court proceedings, Police are unable to comment further.