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Meth smuggler sentenced to 24 YEARS in prison

  • A man must spend 10 years in jail for his role in New Zealand’s biggest drug bust
  • The Australian was sentenced to 24 years behind bars for the importation effort
  • An eight-person operation fell apart after a ‘comedy of errors’ raised suspicion 
  • Small amounts of the huge haul were organised to be hid in sand dunes 

An Australian man involved in one of New Zealand’s largest ever meth busts must spend a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Malachi Tuilotolava was sentenced to 24 years behind bars on Thursday for his role in the importation attempt of 501 kilograms of methamphetamine.  

The eight-person operation fell apart after a ‘comedy of errors’ when the group raised suspicion on Ninety Mile Beach in 2016 and half a tonne was seized, Stuff reported. 

A man must spend 10 years in jail for his role in New Zealand’s biggest drug bust 

The Australian was sentenced to 24 years behind bars for the importation effort

The Australian was sentenced to 24 years behind bars for the importation effort

Small amounts of the huge haul were organised to be hid in sand dunes along Northland beach with help from the 26-year-old, who is an Australian citizen of Tongan descent. 

The rest of the illegal stash – believed to be worth $130 and $150 million – was supposed to be moved in a hired campervan however was intercepted by police in Northland after the crew attracted the unwanted attention of locals. 

Tuilotolava pleaded guilty to one charge of participating in an organised criminal group as well as importing methamphetamine.

Jermiah Iusitini – the man running the New Zealand side of the operation – was able to place calls to Tuilotolava with Justice Downs saying he was the ‘trusted lieutenant’.

An eight-person operation fell apart after a 'comedy of errors' raised suspicion when they tried to smuggle half a tonne of meth 

An eight-person operation fell apart after a ‘comedy of errors’ raised suspicion when they tried to smuggle half a tonne of meth 

Small amounts of the huge haul were organised to be hid in sand dunes after more than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine was picked up by their boat (pictured) offshore on June 12

Small amounts of the huge haul were organised to be hid in sand dunes after more than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine was picked up by their boat (pictured) offshore on June 12

Tuilotolava’s lawyer claimed instead he was only the ‘soldier carrying the radio’.

‘Mr Iusitini did not, it appears, ever go to Northland. He did not need to. You were his lieutenant.’ 

Justice Downs said Tuilotolava had purchased two boats, paying with cash to then pick up the drug consignment at sea – and was the only one of the group to fly with Iusitini to Bangkok prior to the bust.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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