Last updated: 10:49 AM ET, Mon July 04 2016

Suspects Arrested at Auckland Airport After New Zealand’s Biggest Cocaine Bust

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | July 04, 2016

Suspects Arrested at Auckland Airport After New Zealand’s Biggest Cocaine Bust

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

On Friday, two men were arrested at Auckland International Airport in New Zealand when police found $11 million worth of cocaine inside a sculpture of a horse’s head.

According to, authorities in New Zealand announced Saturday that the 881-pound diamante-encrusted horse sculpture had been shipped to New Zealand from Mexico and was discovered to contain 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine

Two of the four suspects in the case were arrested at the Auckland Airport as they tried to leave the country. While the men were not identified, it was revealed that they were a 56-year-old United States national and a 44-year-old Mexican national.

Police in New Zealand are executing additional search warrants in Christchurch, and police are looking to identify another two men reportedly involved in the case. On average, New Zealand confiscates around 250 grams of cocaine per year, but the 35 bricks seized this weekend make this the biggest cocaine bust in the country’s history.

“What this find tells us, though, is that there is obviously a demand for it,” Detective Sgt. Colin Parmenter told “While it's possible that this statue may have been sent on to another country ... there's every possibility that the cocaine was destined for the New Zealand market.”


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