New Zealand made its greatest ever cocaine bust after discovering $10 million value of the drug stashed inside a diamante-encrusted sculpture of a horse’s head.
Police officers and customs officials seized the artwork, which weighed 880 kilos, shortly after it was freighted into the nation from Mexico in early Might. They opened it up, and have been surprised to find 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine inside.
“This is obviously an extremely large amount of cocaine, and prior to now we have solely discovered very small quantities of this drug,” Detective Senior Sergeant Colin Parmenter, from the Organised Crime Auckland squad, mentioned by way of an announcement on Saturday.
“Previous to this, the common quantity of cocaine seized by police annually was round 250 grams (zero.5 kilos). What this discover tells us although is that there’s clearly a requirement for it,” he added.
Three males have been arrested in reference to the plot. A 56-year-old U.S. nationwide and a 44-year-old Mexican nationwide have been detained at Auckland Worldwide Airport, simply as they have been about to catch a flight to Hawaii, on Friday evening.
They appeared at Manukau District Court docket on Saturday morning, dealing with expenses of importing a category A drug and possession for provide.
A 29-year-old Mexican nationwide was arrested in Christchurch shortly after. He’s scheduled to seem at Christchurch District Court docket on Monday on the identical expenses. If convicted of importation, all three males might face life imprisonment.
“The enquiry is ongoing and police are not ruling out further arrests,” New Zealand Police added in a second assertion, issued Saturday afternoon.
Parmenter added that, whereas it was fully doable the statue might have ultimately been despatched on to a different nation, “there’s each chance that the cocaine was destined for the New Zealand market and we’d be naive to assume in any other case.”