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NZ's most creative drug smugglers

By aemetha, Aug 11, 2016 | Updated: Aug 11, 2016 | | |
  1. aemetha
    Earlier this month, $20 million of methamphetamine, commonly known as 'P', came into New Zealand hidden in spatulas - not quite the kind of cooking they were intended for.

    It's just one of the many creative ways criminals have tried to smuggle drugs.

    In May, a diamante-encrusted horse hit headlines for containing New Zealand's largest ever cocaine seizure. The smugglers weren't horsing around, hiding 35 bricks of the stuff inside the 400kg sculpture.

    In January, a 1.5 kg haul of meth was intercepted at Wellington airport inside an "unusually heavy" neck-pillow.

    Recently, 4000 handbags hid 30kg of P inside small silica gel sachets worth an estimated $30 million.

    On a smaller scale, nearly $10 million worth of the Class B drug ephedrine a medication that can be used to make P - was stuffed inside thousands of tiny plastic toys, discovered in 2015 inside a shipping container from China.

    Over the years, New Zealand customs has also intercepted:
    • a drug used to make P found disguised as mints
    • a 3.5 kg bag of P hidden inside a tin of porridge oats.
    This criminal creativity is global.
    • A Mr Potatohead toy stuffed with ecstasy was seized at a mail centre in Sydney.
    • Eight hundred kilograms of marijuana valued at $2 million was hidden inside donkey-shaped statues in the US.
    • A woman tried to get into Colombia with 1.5 kg of cocaine inside her breast implants.
    • Customs thought there was something fishy about clams intercepted at Washington airport - they were stuffed with 15 small bags of cocaine
    It's a constant challenge for customs officers around the world to keep up with these imaginative offenders.

    11 August 2016
    Laura Macdonald


  1. ladywolf2012
    Pretty clever! I want to know how they figured out this one: Recently, 4000 handbags hid 30kg of P inside small silica gel sachets worth an estimated $30 million...
  2. ResponsibleRxGuy
    That is an extremely common form of smuggling powdered narcotics. They pull apart the seams and stuff long thin plastic bags in them and sew them back up. They do it both with bags shipped in large bunches as if for commercial sale, but it's used even more as a method to smuggle them on a person that's flying. They do it in the waistbands of pants, handles and other parts of purses, and basically anywhere you can sew up a long thin plastic bag. You can easily get a few kgs of a drug on a person that way, worth a few to many tens of thousands of US $ depending on exactly how much and what it is.
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