Customs officers have seized $20 million of methamphetamine hidden in spatula sets imported into New Zealand.
A 23-year-old Hong Kong national has been arrested over the seizure and appeared in Auckland District Court on Tuesday. Customs said the arrested followed the interception in July of an air cargo pallet of spatula sets from Hong Kong that were packed with methamphetamine or P. Each of the 80 brightly coloured 24-piece spatula box sets had about 250 grams of P hidden in it.
Customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien said the spatula bust was another significant seizure involving ever-changing concealment methods. The agency's "targeting systems" helped it take quick action leading to the man arrest on Monday night on Auckland's North Shore. "Customs places a lot of emphasis on understanding the international [drug] supply chain and works closely with international enforcement partners around the world. "These relationships work well and are absolutely necessary for dismantling syndicates and providing interception capability off-shore to tackle the root of the supply chain," O'Brien said.
The spatula bust is the latest in a string of huge drug hauls in New Zealand. In June, police to seized a record 500 kilograms of P worth more than $448 million after finding a boat abandoned at 90 Mile Beach - a local tipped-off police after a group of people requested help launching a boat.