Friday 14 December 2018

New Zealand police seize 190kg of cocaine hidden in banana shipment

New Zealand police and customs officials said on Friday they seized 190 kg (420,000 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of up to NZ$36 million that arrived in Auckland in a shipment of bananas, the country's largest-ever drug bust.

A 41-year-old man was arrested in neighbouring Australia in connection with the seizure, New Zealand authorities said in a statement.

Police put the street value of the cocaine at between NZ$28 million and NZ$36 million (€16.8 million-€21.6 million).

The haul followed an Australian investigation into an organised crime group. Officials there said a potential shipment of illicit drugs was heading to Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, after leaving Balboa, Panama, on August 4.

The shipment arrived in Auckland on Aug. 20. Authorities inspected the container and found five duffle bags on top of banana boxes that contained 190 blocks of cocaine, each weighing around a kilogram.

The joint investigation between New Zealand and Australian authorities concluded in the past 24 hours with the arrest of the unidentified man in Sydney, the statement said.

Police said the drugs were destined for Australia.

Reuters

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