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New Zealand, Australian law officers break int'l drugs ring

(Xinhua)

14:19, March 07, 2012

WELLINGTON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand and Australian law enforcement agencies Wednesday announced they had broken a trans- Tasman cocaine supply network that extended back to South America.

Four foreign nationals had been arrested in New Zealand during the joint operation by the Organised Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ), the Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police Service, and the Australian and New Zealand Customs services, said a joint statement from New Zealand Police and Customs.

The syndicate was using New Zealand as a stop off point for the drugs, which originated from South America, on the way to Australia, said the statement.

Customs staff in Auckland seized about 2 kg of cocaine destined for Australia at the border last week, and arrested one man.

The cocaine would have been worth more than 1.5 million NZ dollars (1.22 million U.S. dollars) once it had been cut and distributed on the streets, said the statement.

"Over the past few months it is believed that over 18 kg of cocaine originating from this syndicate has been seized by the Australian authorities," it said.

As a result of the seizures and investigations undertaken on both sides of the Tasman, three other men were arrested in New Zealand.

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