24kgs of cocaine seized from cruise ship in Paihia
There'll be no white Christmas in Northland after Customs officers seized 24kg of cocaine in Paihia on Wednesday.
The cocaine was seized from a French man on a cruise ship. It's is one of the largest in New Zealand, with a street value estimated to be between $6.8 and $10.8 million.
The 26-year-old was arrested and is appearing in the Whangarei District Court on Thursday.
Customs made the bust after starting an investigation in early December. Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry says it came after working with other national and international agencies.
"In this instance, we've seen the difference that an integrated approach can make in how we are responding to the risk across all our borders," he says.
"This is an example of trans-national crime syndicates attempting to use new routes to import drugs. Customs is aware of this - it doesn't matter if it's a cruise ship, a plane or container, we look for risk everywhere."
The man is charged with possession for supply of a class A drug, and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Further charges are likely.