New Zealand Intercepts $25m Worth Of Cocaine Hidden In Bananas

Police and customs officials in New Zealand say they have seized 190 kg of cocaine with a street value of $25 million that arrived in Auckland in a shipment of bananas.The seizure was the country’s largest-ever drug bust and a 41-year-old man was arrested in neighbouring Australia in connection with the seizure, New Zealand authorities said. Police put the street value of the cocaine at between NZ$28 million and NZ$36 million ($19 million-$25 million).

The haul followed an Australian investigation into an organised crime group. Officials there said a potential shipment of illicit drugs was heading to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, after leaving Balboa, Panama, on August 4. The shipment arrived in Auckland on August 20.

Authorities inspected the container and found five duffle bags on top of banana boxes that contained 190 blocks of cocaine, each weighing around a kilogram. The joint investigation between New Zealand and Australian authorities concluded in the past 24 hours with the arrest of the unidentified man in Sydney, the statement said.

Police said the drugs were destined for Australia, “This seizure has stopped what would have been a very significant amount of harm,” New Zealand’s Minister of Customs Kris Faafoi said.

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