Passenger jailed for attempting to smuggle 26 kilograms of methamphetamine

A 36-year-old overseas national was sentenced in the Manukau District Court today to nine-and-a-half-years jail after Customs officers found nearly 26 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage last year.

The man was convicted for the importation of a Class A controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Griffin Merigold arrived at Auckland Airport from Sydney on 28 October 2023 and following questioning by Customs officers, a baggage search found 25.6 kilograms methamphetamine hidden in the lining of his suitcases.

This amount would have been worth up to $9 million on the street, and its seizure is estimated to have prevented up to $25.8 million in social harm and cost to New Zealand communities.

Customs Manager Auckland Airport, Paul Williams, described the case as a brazen smuggling attempt by a drug courier working for an organised crime group.

“This man now faces years in a New Zealand jail and a serious criminal record against his name for when he is eventually released and deported.

“Criminal syndicates aim to exploit people like him to make big profits, knowing very well the harm these drugs cause our communities and wider economy,” Paul Williams says.

“Customs’ advice to drug couriers and others who work for such drug syndicates is simple – don’t do it. The criminals you work for don’t care what happens to you or your families and you will get caught.”

Anyone who has concerns about possible suspicious behaviour can contact Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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