A 264kg cache of drugs hidden in a shipping container was
allegedly destined for a Chinese restaurant in downtown
Auckland and police say another 142kg shipment of
pseudoephedrine slipped through the border earlier this year.
The consignment of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine was
concealed inside packets of bread crumbs and police say the
amount is enough to cook $72 million of methamphetamine (P).
Detectives working in Operation Ghost knew a shipment of
drugs was imminent and intelligence gathered from the
18-month inquiry allowed them to identify the correct
container to search at the Ports of Auckland on Sunday.
The discovery means that a total of 594kg of Class-B drugs
have been seized in the inquiry - enough to manufacture $172
million of P.
The Herald revealed last week that Jin Hai Wan, a yum cha
establishment in Wakefield St, was under surveillance during
the covert inquiry, and can reveal the most recently
intercepted shipment was destined for the restaurant.
The police case is that the restaurant was used as a cover
for drug smuggling and pseudoephedrine was allegedly
distributed out the back entrance on Airedale St.
Owner Hui Zhang, 43, was denied bail nearly a fortnight ago
when charged with importing and supplying the Class B drug
pseudoephedrine. He is likely to face further charges on the
newly discovered shipment.
Detective Inspector Bruce Good, of the Organised and
Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand, also revealed the
existence of an earlier shipment of 142kg bread crumbs in May
which managed to slip through the border.
Charges of importing pseudoephedrine are likely to be laid in
regards to that consignment, which Mr Good said was similar
to the shipments in which the Class B drug was found.
Operation Ghost was an 18-month investigation which focused
on a group of alleged senior Asian organised crime figures
operating in New Zealand, which led to more than 30 arrests.
Homes, cars and cash worth more than $20 million were seized.
- Jared Savage of the NZ Herald