An illegal operation has been shut down by a joint investigation targeting logistics sector insiders allegedly working with the Killer Beez gang to import drugs into the country.
Seven arrests have been made as warrants were executed across the Auckland region yesterday, along with the seizure of a shipment of a quarter of a tonne of drugs before it reached our shores.
Under Operation Papyrus, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs have been investigating the importation of methamphetamine and cocaine over the past year.
Detective Inspector Tom Gollan, of the National Organised Crime Group, says the most recent shipment was identified and seized in the United States back in February.
“Police worked alongside our international partners to stop this shipment, which was later found to contain 265 kilograms of methamphetamine.”
The investigation also shed light on the operation’s alleged methods of importation into the country.
“Operation Papyrus found ‘insiders’ within the transport and logistics industry were allegedly working with members of the Killer Beez gang to facilitate the drug imports,“ Detective Inspector Gollan says.
“Our investigation is continuing into this aspect and further arrests and charges cannot be ruled out.”
The seven people arrested include members of the Killer Beez gang. Those who will face court include five men – aged 29, 31, 35, 44, 55 – and two women – aged 31 and 32.
All will face a raft of drug importation charges as well as charges of participating in an organised criminal group.
All are expected to have their first appearances at different times across today (19 April) and tomorrow (20 April) in the Auckland District Court.
Detective Inspector Gollan says the investigation highlights the value that the ongoing partnerships between New Zealand authorities, overseas law enforcement and industry partners continues to yield.
“Insider threats embedded within industries that work across New Zealand’s borders remain a key concern for authorities.
“For that reason, Police and our partners continue to work hard to identify and hold those to account who are enabling criminal groups to carry out their illicit operations.”
Customs Manager of Investigations, Cam Moore says: “This is a satisfying result where Customs’ work with Police has stopped some 260 kilograms of methamphetamine entering New Zealand from the United States.
“That substantial amount of methamphetamine could be expected to produce around 13 million individual common doses which, if sold on the street, could be worth approximately $91 million.
“We’re very pleased to have disrupted that level of illegal drug activity and the profits which the criminals involved were hoping to make through the harm they could have caused in communities across Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Customs will continue to support investigations, particularly around trusted insiders in the transport and logistics industries who were willing to risk their privileged employment status to help this organised criminal drug smuggling operation,” Cam Moore says.