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New Zealand Customs Service officers have seized 80-kilos of Contac NT (pseudoephedrine), enough to produce as much as 24-kilos of Methamphetamine (P) with a street value of around $20 million.
It is the third largest haul of its kind seen in New Zealand.
Officers x-raying a container detected the Contac NT in a shipment of packaged foodstuffs from China.
Customs Manager Drug Investigations, Bill Perry, said Contac NT was available as an over-the-counter medicine in China.
He said Customs seizures of pseudoephedrine had been steadily increasing since 2004.
"In 2006 we intercepted a record total of 594 kilos. But with 458 kilos already this year, we're likely to get close to, if not exceed, that record.
Seizures since 2004: 292-kilos in 2004, 371 in 2005, 594 in 2006 and 393 last year.
"Currently we are getting a great deal of this coming in from China but a single consignment this size is rare," said Mr Perry. "It's a great feeling to know that we have kept that much off the streets, knowing the damage that it can ultimately do."
"Mostly it comes in much smaller lots through the mail systems and airports. On average we intercept at least one of these types of imports a day."
In connection with the 80-kilo haul, an Auckland man has been charged with importation of a Class C Controlled Drug and Possession for Supply of a Class C Controlled Drug. These offences can carry a penalty of eight years imprisonment if convicted.