NZ sports champion caught up in global drug bust

An aerial view of the Port of Tauranga. Supplied photo.

Authorities have intercepted 50kg of cocaine at the Port of Tauranga and arrested a group of men, including a former New Zealand sports champion.

Police say a joint investigation between New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Customs Service identified a high-risk shipment arriving at the port in early February.

The shipment originated in Brazil and New Zealand was its intended destination, police say.

Detective Inspector Tom Golla says four men aged between 22 and 36 were initially arrested following the discovery.

A former New Zealand sports champion was charged with importing cocaine and possessing the drug for supply over the bust and appeared in the Auckland District Court in February.

Fifty kilograms of cocaine was intercepted at the Port of Tauranga in February. Photo / NZ Police.

”Over the following weeks, enquiries into this serious offending have continued, which led to several search warrants being conducted throughout Tāmaki Makaurau and Tauranga and a further seven arrests made, including two men with alleged gang links.

”During a further search warrant in the Counties Manukau district, a significant number of firearms, including three semi-automatics and two fully automatic rifles, were located and seized.”

A 50-year-old male was arrested at this address and was also allegedly found in possession of a loaded .22-calibre pistol, says Gollan.

Firearms were found during a search of an address in the Counties Manukau district. Photo / NZ Police.

On February 20, police searched properties in Tauranga where two men, aged 33 and 37, were arrested.

Police allege they were also gang members.

Gollan alleges police observed extensive preparations being undertaken by the group to recover the cocaine.

”This included the purchase of walkie-talkie radios, an army ghillie suit, bolt cutters, gloves, security-branded T-shirts, and high-visibility gear.

”All 11 men are facing charges relating to the importation, conspiracy and possession for supply of cocaine. Two of the men are also facing charges relating to the possession of firearms, and police are not ruling out further charges as more information comes to light.”

Firearms were found during a search of an address in the Counties Manukau district. Photo / NZ Police.

They are all due to reappear in the Auckland District Court.

Customs investigations manager Dominic Adams says it's a complex investigation, with Customs and Police working together to target the criminal group.

“Customs continues to screen 100 per cent of all air and sea cargo shipments, taking a closer look at shipments that raise red flags.

“This is another excellent example of our partnership approach with police yielding great results.

“We also work closely with ports and legitimate supply chain partners to help keep our borders safe and secure.”

-Bay of Plenty Times.

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1 comment


Posted on 03-04-2024 10:18 | By Let's get real

Certainly not the first time that the political and sporting worlds have seen their elite humiliated.
Some appear to get away with it (by claiming that it will impact their ability to work overseas) and some refuse to talk with the authorities and charges are eventually dropped for lack of evidence.
Without naming names, I find it sickening to think that someone with a drug habit or who has been associated with the import of drugs financially, can then go on to either be an aspirational idol for our youth or sit in judgement in governmental positions.
Apparently, being in the public domain allows you to flout the laws of the land and continue on as if nothing has ever been suggested. Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Cyril Smith MP et al.
Privacy laws should be reconsidered for some criminal offences.

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