WELLINGTON – New Zealand customs has seized 469 Kilograms of crystal meth hidden inside a shipment of electric motors from Thailand.
Customs Investigations said they believe a sophisticated Canadian drug cartel is probably behind the shipment. Customs tracked two Canadians who they believe were sent to New Zealand to collect and sell the drugs.
Two Canadian men in their mid-20s and one New Zealand man have been arrested and charged with importing and possessing crystal meth. They each face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.
As a result of over production, drug syndicates currently have a glut of crystal meth and are looking for new markets.
Customs Investigator Bruce Berry said the latest case seemed to follow a playbook used by the drug syndicates.
“Whatever we do, these syndicates are going to try to push crystal meth into our communities,” Berry said.
Crystal Meth Smuggled in Electric Motors from Thailand
In the latest case, customs officials say they seized 469 kilograms of meth with a street value of 235 million New Zealand dollars. The motors arrived inside a shipping container in mid-August from Thailand.
Berry said that the seizure had put a significant dent into the drug syndicates meth supplies.
New Zealand used its Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership with Canada; the U.S, Britain and Australia to help with the investigation. Barry said more arrests were likely in New Zealand and possibly in other countries as well.
The bust represents the largest-ever border seizure of meth in New Zealand.
A report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) says that Myanmar’s Shan State is one of the world’s largest producers of crystal meth. Myanmar’s Shan State shares is border with Thailand’s, Chiang Rai Province in the notorious Golden Triangle.
There have been record seizures of meth in the last two years in ASEAN countries and the surrounding region.
The troubled Shan State has long been a global drug producer of opium and heroin and now crystal meth.
Shan State’s massive methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking business thrives on its proximity to supplies of precursors. The chemicals needed for drug production from across the Chinese border.
China, where most chemicals needed to make crystal meth come from, has almost never intercepted shipments crossing its border with Myanmar.