Lengthy jail terms for meth syndicate

Police and Customs note the sentencing today of four people including two Taiwan nationals who were charged in relation to the importation as well as conspiracy to import methamphetamine into New Zealand.

In early 2015, a joint investigation involving Police and Customs was launched after it was discovered that a drug syndicate was operating, which involved Taiwanese nationals travelling to New Zealand under the guise of being tourists. They would receive packages which claimed to contain wine, when in reality they contained methamphetamine in a liquid form.

Under this operation, authorities seized 6 kilograms of methamphetamine with a street value of approximately $6 million.

In September 2015, four offenders were charged, and have now been convicted as follows:

-          24-year-old man and 27-year-old woman were convicted of one charge to conspiracy to import methamphetamine, and one charge of conspiracy to supply methamphetamine.

-          25-year-old man convicted on three charges of importing methamphetamine and one charge of conspiracy to import methamphetamine.

-          21-year-old male convicted on one charge of conspiracy to import methamphetamine.

Detective Superintendent Greg Williams of the National Organised Crime Group says this joint investigation, the arrests, and today’s sentence reflects the effectiveness of joint agency cooperation in detecting and dealing with this type of offending.”

“Police are under no illusion that there is a very high demand for this drug. The damage to individuals, families and whanau from methamphetamine is immeasurable. Our work to disrupt these organised criminal groups who do not care at all about the devastation this drug causes to our community is ongoing.”

“Police and Customs have a strong partnership and work together with a focus on stopping this drug infecting our communities. Police are also focused on getting help for those with drug addiction and encourage anyone who is concerned for someone they know to contact police or one of the many community support groups available to them for assistance,” says Detective Superintendent Williams.

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says today’s sentence shows those who risk getting involved in the illicit business of importing and supplying drugs should be prepared to get caught and pay for their crimes.

“Customs is aware of the different trends and methods that criminal syndicates try to use to smuggle methamphetamine, and are agile in responding to these. Whether it’s sending individuals into the country as tourists, or smuggling drugs in plain sight as a legitimate product – in this case wine – we use intelligence to understand what risk looks like, and focus our efforts accordingly. Customs will continue to partner with Police to take down other drug supply networks.”

There are many support services and organisations in our communities that can assist. The Drug Alcohol Helpline (0800 787 797 or alcoholdrughelp.org.nz) is a great place to seek information and support to begin removing yourself from the harm caused by these types of drug.

23 June 2017

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