Asia Minute: Crystal Meth Cases Rising in New Zealand and Australia

Jun 15, 2016

Credit Wikipedia Commons

As we’ve been reporting recently on HPR, crystal methamphetamine continues to be a crisis in Hawai‘i. And there is evidence that use of that drug is increasing in New Zealand and Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Police in New Zealand seized more than half a ton of methamphetamine from an abandoned boat on a northern beach this week…with a street value of more than $350 million US dollars.

Police say that’s more meth than was seized in the entire country during all of 2015.  They’re now trying to figure out where the drugs originally came from…and who else was involved.

Last month, police in Western Australia seized nearly $150 million dollars of meth...intercepting a small fishing boat and arresting 14 people…including 8 Chinese nationals.   A follow-up operation resulted in the discovery of more than 400 pounds of crystal meth in the suburbs of Perth.

Earlier this year, customs officials in Sydney say they seized $700 million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine smuggled in bras and art supplies.  At the time, Australia’s Federal Justice Minister called it “a result of organized criminals targeting the lucrative Australian ice market from offshore.”

A report this year from Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Center estimated the number of Australians using methamphetamine has tripled over the past five years.  The study published in the Medical Journal of Australia shows there are more than a quarter of a million “regular and dependent” methamphetamine users in the country.