Customs nabs more than 3 tonnes of drugs bound for New Zealand in 2019

Customs says it stopped more than three tonnes of illegal drugs coming into New Zealand last year. This includes 1,180kg of methamphetamine, 329kg of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine precursors, which could have been converted into 246kg of methamphetamine, 739kg and 6469 pills of MDMA or Ecstasy and 60kg of cocaine.

Offshore, a further 437kg of illegal drugs bound for Aotearoa was seized, based on information from Customs' international border partners. The methamphetamine haul alone was enough to cause nearly $1.5 billion worth of potential harm, combined with the rest of the contraband seized indicates that significant potential harm has been prevented.

The record number of seizures is largely thanks to financial boost provided by the Coalition Government towards disrupting transnational organised crime.

In Budget 2018, an extra $58.1 million was committed over four years to disrupt drug-smuggling networks. This includes capital spending of $3.9 million for detection technology and surveillance equipment.

With the record number of drugs seized at the border, it is evident that this investment has worked.

The investment has also ensured 49 new operational staff working in Customs since 2016/17, as well as 97 "ship-to-shore" officials, working to halt the import of drugs.

Customs has also been working smarter through offshore collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Australia, the Pacific, the US and further abroad to stop the drug traffickers' products and ingredients before they can leave overseas ports and airports.

This focus on disrupting the supply of illegal drugs from reaching local communities was part of the Coalition Government's health-based approach. There have been more resources put into addiction, detoxification and residential care services for New Zealanders who are struggling with drug and alcohol issues.

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