Four men arrested following New Zealand’s largest cocaine bust are appearing in Tauranga Court today.
Two Australian men and a Croatian aged in their mid-forties, and one Serbian national in his mid-thirties were arrested after an estimated 46 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of around NZ$20 million ($450 per gram), has been seized from an address in Tauranga early yesterday morning.
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Customs commenced the operation after an investigation into smaller methamphetamine seizures, resulting in several arrests, identified persons of interest believed to be involved in smuggling and distributing Class A drugs and money laundering.
Customs joined forces with Police to build intelligence and carry out investigative work, establishing that a cocaine shipment would be offloaded from a commercial ship near Tauranga.
The ship arrived from Chile late on Tuesday.