Thai Bandidos Tried to Smuggle $17 Million Worth of Meth into New Zealand

Police seized 17 kilograms of methamphetamine and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and jewellery in the seven-month sting.
October 5, 2016, 12:00am

The haul seized by police in Operation Cossack. Image NZ Police

After a joint seven-month investigation, New Zealand police and customs have seized $17 million dollars worth of methamphetamine allegedly imported by a member of the Thailand chapter of the Bandidos Motorcycle Gang.

The investigation, during which police also recovered approximately $350,000 in cash and recently-purchased jewellery, is the latest in a year of big and bizarre busts at airports around New Zealand. There have been instances of methamphetamine found stashed in neck pillows and marmite jars.

In June, Northland police discovered almost $450 million dollars worth of meth in a campervan—the largest drug seizure in New Zealand history. Counties Manukau organised crime detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander, believed the drugs seized were intended for sale in New Zealand. He said meth is a "significant driver" of New Zealand crime. "It ruins lives, destroys families and does enormous damage to our communities." The Bandidos gang, bitter rivals of the Hell's Angels, began in Texas and now has an estimated 2400-strong membership worldwide. In 2012, they claimed to have more than a dozen patched members and prospects in Christchurch alone.

Three men have been charged with importing and supplying methamphetamine, and money laundering. The investigation is ongoing, with the accused due to appear again in Manukau District Court later this month.

Follow Beatrice on Twitter.