WELLINGTON, March 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand law enforcement agencies have paid tribute to Chinese counterparts for their success in finding a new type of methamphetamine that is chemically altered to be undetectable.
A cargo consignment labelled as a shipment of dishwashing liquid imported from Hong Kong was found to actually contain about 160 liters of "t-boc methamphetamine," New Zealand Police and Customs said Wednesday.
The consignment arrived in New Zealand on Jan. 28 and resulted in Police and Customs officers raiding homes and commercial premises in six Auckland suburbs on Tuesday, said a statement from the two agencies.
Four men aged 59, 47, 38 and 54 were to appear in the Auckland District Court Wednesday as the investigation continued.
They were charged with a range of offences relating to the supply of methamphetamine and the possession of equipment with intent to manufacture a methamphetamine.
T-boc was a form of methamphetamine that was chemically masked to prevent it being detected, and it could be converted back into the drug through another chemical process.
It was believed to be the first time that this form of methamphetamine had been seized in New Zealand.
The liquid and equipment seized in the operation were believed to have the capability to make about 120 kilograms of methamphetamine, which would have caused "drug harm" with an estimated cost of 148 million NZ dollars (102.6 million U.S. dollars).
"The approach to disrupting the supply chain hinges on the strong networks we have built with our partners in the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission, across government including the New Zealand Customs Service," Police Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch said in the statement.
"With these strong networks, Police and Customs are becoming increasingly successful at disrupting the supply of illicit drugs into this country and holding those who profit from importation to account," said Lynch.
"We believe this is the first time a consignment of t-boc methamphetamine has been intercepted in New Zealand, and we rely on our strong partnerships both at home and overseas to stay abreast of the changing trends in the illicit trade in drugs."
Customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien said the success of the investigation showed that criminal syndicates would go to great lengths and were becoming more sophisticated in their methods of concealment.
"We will continue to work alongside Police and our overseas partners to target and stop drugs at the border, in order to prevent it from getting into and harming our communities," O'Brien said in the statement. \