2,887 ecstasy tablets intercepted at New Zealand International Mail Centre

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

2,887 ecstasy (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) tablets were intercepted yesterday morning (NZDT) at the Auckland, New Zealand International Mail Center in a joint operation between New Zealand Customs officials and the New Zealand Police. The tablets were being sent to a 32-year-old man living in Timaru from a man living in the United Kingdom. The Timaru man is being charged with importing a class B drug, a controlled substance.

Altogether the tablets had a street value of an estimated NZ$173,000.

The Timaru man has appeared in the Timaru District Court and will be in custody until Thursday.

Bill Perry, Manager for Drug Investigations at Customs, said: "The parcel was posted from the United Kingdom to an address in Timaru. This interception highlights New Zealand's growing problem of illicit drug importation."

So far during 2006 Customs has intercepted a total of 6,026 ecstasy tablets, a decrease of 14,033 for the year of 2005 (20,059). "However importations of ecstasy and other MDMA products are still an area of ongoing concern and monitoring for Customs," said Perry.

The International Mail Centre is the hub for all mail entering or leaving New Zealand. Each month the mail center processes around three million incoming mail items and around two and a half million outgoing. Simon Williamson, Manager for the Northern Ports Customs, said: "Customs screens all mail entering the country using a range of methodologies including our officers' skills and experience, x-ray equipment and detector dogs. Volumes of mail are rising and Customs officers are gearing up for the busy Christmas season."

During 2006 crystal methamphetamine seizures by Customs have risen tenfold relative to the previous year.