Three men are facing life in prison following the largest border seizure of methamphetamine in New Zealand to date.
On Friday, authorities uncovered more than a half ton of meth, which has a street value of $150 million, hidden inside a shipment of 60 electric motors from Thailand. The shipment is believed to be connected to a Canadian drug cartel, Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry told The Associated Press.
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Two Canadian men in their 20s and one New Zealand man, all of whom have yet to be identified, were arrested and charged with importing and possessing methamphetamine, each risking a dim future if convicted.
It was believed, according to Berry, that the Canadian men, who were tracked for months, were sent to New Zealand separately to collect and sell the drugs.
Berry told AP that New Zealand draws an attraction to international criminal investigations because meth sells on the streets for a higher price than just about anywhere else in the world, partly because of its isolated location.
“Whatever we do, these syndicates are going to try to push their poison onto our communities."
The drug bust comes just after custom officials say they seized 469 kilograms, or 1,034 pounds, of meth at the Ports of Auckland from the motors that arrived inside a shipping container in August.
New Zealand had used its Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership with Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia to help with the investigation, Berry said, adding that more arrests were likely in New Zealand and possibly in other countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.