New Zealand police seize 190 kg of cocaine hidden in banana shipment

This image made from video shows a cocaine seizure at a police press conference in Auckland, New Zealand Friday, Nov. 16, 2018. (AP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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New Zealand police seize 190 kg of cocaine hidden in banana shipment

  • The shipment arrived in Auckland on Aug. 20. Authorities inspected the container and found five duffle bags on top of banana boxes that contained 190 blocks of cocaine, each weighing around a kilogram

WELLINGTON: New Zealand police and customs officials said on Friday they seized 190 kg (420,000 pounds) of cocaine with a street value of up to NZ$36 million ($25 million) that arrived in Auckland in a shipment of bananas, the country’s largest-ever drug bust.
A 41-year-old man was arrested in neighboring Australia in connection with the seizure, New Zealand authorities said in a statement. Police put the street value of the cocaine at between NZ$28 million and NZ$36 million ($19 million-$25 million).
The haul followed an Australian investigation into an organized crime group. Officials there said a potential shipment of illicit drugs was heading to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, after leaving Balboa, Panama, on Aug. 4.
The shipment arrived in Auckland on Aug. 20. Authorities inspected the container and found five duffle bags on top of banana boxes that contained 190 blocks of cocaine, each weighing around a kilogram.
The joint investigation between New Zealand and Australian authorities concluded in the past 24 hours with the arrest of the unidentified man in Sydney, the statement said.
Police said the drugs were destined for Australia.
“This seizure has stopped what would have been a very significant amount of harm,” New Zealand’s Minister of Customs Kris Faafoi said in a separate statement. ($1 = 1.4650 New Zealand dollars)


Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

Updated 9 min 49 sec ago
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Two US service members killed in Afghanistan

  • The US military’s mission is focused on guiding and aiding Afghan forces battling the Taliban
  • Violence has been relentless in the country, despite ongoing talks between the Taliban and the US

KABUL: Two US service members were killed in Afghanistan on Friday while conducting an operation, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said in a statement.
It gave no further details and withheld the names of the service members until next of kin were informed.
The US military’s mission is focused on guiding and aiding Afghan forces battling the Taliban, who were ousted from power in 2001.
Violence has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants have held several rounds of talks with US officials about a peace settlement.
The latest talks wrapped up this month with both sides citing progress, but no agreement to end the 17-year war.
The Resolute Support Mission consists of 17,000 troops, about half of them from the United States.