Cokehead: New Zealand police find record cocaine haul in horse sculpture

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Officers seize 35kg worth NZ$14m of the class A drug after becoming suspiciuous of extravagant sequinned fake horses head that came from Mexico

A record-breaking haul of cocaine has been seized by New Zealand police, hidden inside a gigantic diamante-encrusted sculpture of a horses head.

The less-than-inconspicuous sculpture decorated with brown, black and gold diamante sequins and weighing 400kg was air-freighted from Mexico in May and contained 35 bricks of cocaine, each weighing a kilogram, concealed inside the base of the horses neck.

The haul has an estimated street value of NZ$14m (7.5m) and is by far the largest seizure of the drug ever intercepted in the country.

Cocaine rarely makes it into the country in significant quantities due to strict border controls and the sizeable distance from the major foreign drug markets.

The street price of cocaine in New Zealand is high and quality often low.

This is obviously an extremely large amount of cocaine and in the past weve only found very small amounts of this drug, said Detective Senior Sergeant Colin Parmenter, officer in charge of the organised crime unit in Auckland.
What this find tells us though is that there is obviously a demand for it. While its possible that this statue may have been sent on to another country theres every possibility that the cocaine was destined for the New Zealand market and we would be naive to think otherwise

The highest penalty for importing cocaine into New Zealand is life imprisonment.

Bricks
Bricks of cocaine, weighing 35kg, were found inside the sculpture. Photograph: New Zealand Police

Detective Superintendent Virginia Le Bas said cocaine was favoured by socialites in New Zealand and the importation was the work of a sophisticated overseas organised crime operation.

However some on Twitter questioned the wisdom of hiding the drugs inside such an unusual and eye-catching sculpture.

2covet (@2covet) July 1, 2016

I’m guessing that truly ugly spangled Horse head was just a bit of a clue…
Huge cocaine haul found in horse head https://t.co/dkKsVMsiob

Katie Duncan (@katfdunc) July 2, 2016

I feel like the media’s all talking about the cocaine and no one’s talking about the horror that is that diamante horse

Richard Easther (@REasther) July 1, 2016

A 400 kg diamante-encrusted horse sculpture? Yep, nothing suspicious about that. https://t.co/5JwyDnDmXH

Prior to the record-breaking haul New Zealand police seized an average of 250g of cocaine a year.

Three man have been charged in relation to the importation two Mexicans and one American national.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/03/cokehead-new-zealand-police-find-record-cocaine-haul-in-horse-sculpture