Pair arrested for money laundering after seizure of $20m worth of cocaine

Pair arrested for money laundering after seizure of $20m worth of cocaine
Photo credit: Police

Police have announced the arrest of two people for money laundering following the seizure of 46 kilograms of cocaine in Tauranga.

The two arrested are a 29-year-old man from Birkenhead and a 35-year-old woman from Auckland central. The man is charged with four counts of money laundering and the woman has one charge also for money laundering. 

The arrests come following a joint investigation by police and customs into the importation of cocaine into New Zealand. 

Two Australians, a Croatian and a Serbian national were arrested in relation to the crime on November 1.

Police have also seized a number of items following a search in Birkenhead on Thursday morning.

A 2017 Honda Civic, motorbike, phones, laptops, a money counting machine and several thousands of dollars in cash were seized.

Police say the search and arrests are the result of five month long investigation.

"The arrests followed an investigation which uncovered a sophisticated money laundering operation involving hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Detective Superintendent Greg Williams, national manager for organised crime group.

"Police will continue to hold those to account who are responsible for the laundering of funds generated by the drug dealing activities of criminals.

"This is a very serious offence and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment."

Police have not ruled out further arrests at this time.