Detective Inspector John Sutton, Waitemata Police:
Waitemata Police have made significant arrests in relation to the supply of synthetic drugs and seized product which if manufactured, has a street value of around $1.5 million dollars.
The first arrest comes as part of Operation Tiger, which is an ongoing operation to target the importation of psychoactive substances.
The investigation was initiated after Customs seized a kilogram each of AMB-Fubinaca and AB-Pinaca, the psychoactive substances often used to make synthetic drugs.
Following this, Police have been working in the background and last month nine search warrants were executed in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch.
Our most significant find was a storage unit in Rodney where 11kg of finished synthetic drugs were found and another 1kg of AMB-Fubinaca.
The 1kg located by Police and the 2kgs by Customs would be sufficient to manufacture around 150kg of synthetic drugs, that’s approximately 75,000, 2 gram doses of the drug, which is worth a street value of $1.5 million.
The 11kgs of finished synthetic drugs located in the storage unit would have had an approximate street value of $110,000.
A 58-year-old man was arrested yesterday and charged with the following:
• Importing Psychoactive Substance x 4
• Manufactures a Psychoactive Substance
• Possession for supply of a Psychoactive Substance
He will appear in North Shore District Court on Wednesday 20 September 2017.
Operation Tiger is ongoing and Police cannot rule out the possibility of further arrests as our enquiries continue.
In a separate unrelated investigation by West Auckland staff on behalf of the Coroner into two recent deaths suspected to be linked to synthetic drugs, Police have arrested three people for supplying the synthetic drugs the deceased are believed to have used.
The three men arrested are aged, 22, 30 and 33, they have all been charged with selling/supplying a psychoactive substance.
Police have carried out search warrants at two addresses and recovered a small amount of what is suspected to be psychoactive substances.
These have been sent to ESR for testing.
Where police believe the supply of the synthetic drug is linked to a death we will look at the culpability of the supplier in regards to this.
This will take some time and we are not in a position to comment any further on this for operational reasons.
As these matters are before the courts we are unable to make any further comment.
Detective Inspector John Sutton says we would like to take this opportunity to thank Customs for their assistance with Operation Tiger.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners, to reduce the impact and harm this drug is having on families and whanau.
We also continue to urge our community to tell us who is selling these drugs.
We need your help to catch these offenders so please do not hesitate to contact us with any information, we can assure you, it will be taken seriously.”
If you have any information that can assist Police in catching these offenders, please contact your local Police Station or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you have any concerns about the health of someone who has consumed synthetic drugs, call 111 and ask for an ambulance.