New Zealand customs officers said Friday that
they had seized 80 kilograms of pseudo-ephedrine intended for the illegal drugs
trade in a shipment of packaged food from China, reported dpa.
The third-biggest haul of its kind in New Zealand, it was enough to produce 24 kilograms of methamphetamine - known as ice or P in New Zealand - with a street value of about 20 million New Zealand dollars (about 13 million US dollars).
Bill Perry, customs manager of drug investigations, said consignments of the medicine Contac NT, which contains pseudo-ephedrine, were being intercepted daily from China, where it is sold as an over-the-counter medicine, but seizures of this size were rare.
He said 458 kilograms had been intercepted this year, indicating a new record of seizures by the end of December, overtaking the previous total of 594 kilograms in 2006.
New Zealand police have dubbed P their biggest drug problem, blaming it for a large number of violent crimes.
Police said Tuesday that they had cracked a major drug ring manufacturing and supplying P, which was being run from behind prison walls. Eight prisoners currently serving time were among the 12 people arrested.