“Police and locals search sand at Bethells Beach west of Auckland after 19 packages marked with unusual symbols are found” – reports the Guardian
Cocaine with a street value of around $2m (NZ$3m) has washed up in packages on a wild New Zealand beach, sparking a major search for further drugs by police and local residents.
On Wednesday evening people at Bethells Beach on the west coast of Auckland told police they had found mysterious blue packages with odd symbols printed on them, strewn along the rugged coast.
Police confirmed the packages tested positive for cocaine, and sent a helicopter and search teams to hunt for more drugs.
“There is a small possibility that further packages may turn up on the beach and we ask any members of the public to contact us immediately if they do,” said Det Insp Colin Parmenter of Waitematä police in a statement.
“Eagle helicopter will be in the area today conducting a search of the wider area and we will be sending regular patrols in the coming days to continue to check for further washed up items,” he said.
Jose Sousa-Santos, a Pacific crime researcher at Massey University in New Zealand, said the cocaine was likely to have originated from Peru or Colombia, where it could be purchased for between US$7-7,500 per kilogram.
Cocaine is New Zealand’s most expensive illicit drug, sold for about $250,000 per kilogram. In the UK, the drug’s street value is $50,000-60,000 per kilogram.
Originally published at the Guardian