Airport arrest nets $1.3m worth of cocaine

Press Release – New Zealand Customs Service

A 46-year-old man has been arrested after Customs officers found around 3kg of cocaine hidden in a false bottom suitcase at Auckland Airport.

The cocaine has an estimated street value of between $874,000 and $1.3 million.

The American national, who appeared in the Manukau District Court today, arrived on a flight from Thailand on Tuesday night and was arrested after a detailed examination of his baggage led to the discovery of the cocaine.

Customs Acting Manager Investigations, Michael Blades, says the arrest is a testament to the work of Customs officers and pre-screening that includes the use of technology and passenger information to identify high-risk passengers.

“In this instance, we received good intelligence that assisted our frontline Customs officers to successfully identify the passenger as a drug courier,” he says.

“Cocaine causes serious effects including anxiety, paranoia and depression and while this seizure suggests there is a market for cocaine, Customs is committed to preventing it and any other drugs from getting past our border and onto our streets.”

The man is charged with importing and possession for supply of a class A drug, and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

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