Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Operation Bali nets cocaine, ice and half-million in cash

Ten people have been arrested and large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine and cash seized following a joint Police and Customs operation.

Police located and seized 435 grams of methamphetamine, approximately $455,000 in cash, and clan lab-related items following search warrants executed in the Waikato and Wellington yesterday.

The 11 warrants at residential properties in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Hamilton were part of Operation Bali, an operation targeting the importation, sale and supply of cocaine and methamphetamine, which began after a series of seizures at the border by Customs Officers.

One kilogram of cocaine and an additional six kilograms of methamphetamine were intercepted by Customs as part of the operation.

Seven men and three women – aged between 24 and 57 years of age – were arrested in the operation. They all appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday to face a range of charges, including Importing Class A controlled drugs, Possession for Supply of Class A controlled drugs, and Supplying Class A drug.

The joint investigation has been supported by several Police workgroups including the National Organised Crime Group, Asset Recovery Unit, Wellington District Police, Waikato CIB and several other specialist units.

“These groups are intent on pumping as much illicit drugs as they can into our communities causing considerable social harm, crime and victimisation,” Det Supt Williams says.

“Customs and Police are constantly looking to disrupt how these groups operate and we will continue to target these groups and the individuals that align themselves with them.

“This termination demonstrates the importance of our transnational partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the globe in our common ongoing efforts to combat transnational organised crime and drug trafficking activity.

“This should serve as a warning to criminals everywhere who are attempting to bring drugs into New Zealand that they will be detected and they will be held accountable,” he said.

Customs’ Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement, Dana McDonald says the operation began following a series of linked seizures at the border by frontline Customs staff, whose vigilance and diligence have paid dividends with these arrests.

“By combining our intelligence with Police, we were able to uncover a wider ring of opportunist drug smugglers and dismantle their attempts to exploit our communities for a profit,” he said.

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