A 72-year-old American man appeared in an Auckland court
today for allegedly importing millions of dollars worth of
methamphetamine into New Zealand.
The man was questioned by Customs officers when he arrived in
Auckland from Bangkok on December 28.
He was arrested after Customs officers searched his baggage
and found about 6.2kg of a white crystalline substance in the
lining of his suitcase.
The substance tested positive for methamphetamine, with a
street value of between $3 and $6 million, police say.
He appeared in the Manukau District Court today and was
remanded in custody until his next scheduled appearance in
The case draws similarities with two separate arrests of US
nationals, aged 70 and 55, for importing methamphetamine into
Australia last week, Customs said.
A 68-year-old Auckland man was arrested in November last year
after he arrived into New Zealand from Papua New Guinea
carrying 1.5kg of methamphetamine concealed inside two bags
he had been given.
The maximum penalty for importing class A controlled drugs
into New Zealand is life imprisonment.
It was concerning that criminal syndicates appear to be
targeting older people to carry significant amounts of drugs
across borders, said Customs Manager Investigations Maurice
"It's important the public is aware that such criminal
operations exist and people who, either knowingly or
unknowingly, carry these drugs end up bearing the full brunt
of the law.
"Customs urges passengers not to carry any items on behalf of
others when travelling to or from overseas without being
fully aware of the contents. And if you receive an offer that
sounds too good to be true, it probably is - and not worth
the risk," he said.
A statement from the New Zealand Customs Service said during
the busy summer period, with high passenger volumes and many
people taking a holiday, Customs operates in full force at
international airports. It "remains focussed both at the
frontline and behind the scenes on disrupting the illicit