Eight people have been arrested in relation to drug importation offences following a 10-month police operation in Canterbury.
Six of the offenders are Columbian nationals, and one Argentinian. In total, more than 60 charges have been filed relating to cocaine importation and supply, participating in an organised criminal group, and money laundering. Five of the Columbians were working as farm contractors in Canterbury.
Police allege the group was responsible for importing 50kg of cocaine into New Zealand over the last two years, and laundered $600,000.
In executing the search warrants police seized $300,000 in cash, 3 ounces of cocaine and some crypto wallets.
The investigation was a joint police and customs operation, which included assistance from law enforcement agencies in Columbia and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).