Some bungling boating by a group of landlubber drug smugglers led to New Zealand’s largest ever haul of methamphetamine, commonly known as 'ice’. Their amateur efforts – where they resorted to offering locals large amounts of money to show them how to get off shore – led to police seizing 494kg (1,090lbs) of the drug, with a street value of US$347 million. The haul eclipsed in a single swoop the entire amount of ice confiscated in the South Pacific nation last year (334kg). Police said locals found an abandoned boat at remote 90 Mile Beach on Sunday and also reported a group of men had been acting suspiciously in the area in recent weeks.
What is so great about this is that it’s not only the result of hard work by the Northland police, but it’s the result of information we got from the community.
Superintendent Russell Le Prou
When police went to recover the boat, a vehicle used by the group drove past and was stopped after a brief chase. Two men, aged 26 and 31, were arrested. A short time later, a campervan driven by a third man, aged 19, was stopped and a search found multiple suitcases containing zip-lock bags full of drugs totalling 448kg. Police also found a handheld GPS device in the first vehicle which had coordinates leading to some sand dunes, where officers on Monday dug up a further 46kg of drugs. The three men appeared in court on Tuesday charged with importing and possessing class A drugs for supply.