New Zealand's big and bizarre drug busts

New Zealand has seen some big and bizarre drug busts over the past few years.

Several kilos of cocaine that washed up on an Auckland beach on Wednesday may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to some of the busts we've had recently.

Newshub compiled a list of some of the larger or more memorable ones.

A very expensive statue 


Drug detector dogs found 35kg of cocaine inside a diamante encrusted horse head sculpture in 2017.

All up it had a street value of $14 million. Police took the drugs out of the head and replaced them with polystyrene and flour, letting it go to it's intended owners so they could be arrested.

Mexican man Agustin Suarez-Juarez was sentenced to 19 years and 9 months behind bars with a minimum no parole period of almost 10 years for the crime.

His co-accused, American Ronald Cook, was sentenced to 17 years and 9 months in prison and will need to serve at least 8 years and 10 months before being eligible for parole. 

Drugs on the high seas


New Zealand's biggest ever methamphetamine bust ended in 2016 with men facing decades in prison, but it began in 2016 with a Bayliner boat and almost 500kg of drugs.

A group of men told locals they were there to spread a friend's ashes and attempted to launch the boat from Shipwreck Bay, damaging it in the process.

Nearly $100,000 and a new boat later they were back at it and managed to pick up $494kg of meth dropped at sea.

Police caught the group travelling in a caravan filled with 448kg of meth. A further 50kg of meth was found buried in the sand dunes at Ninety Mile Beach.

Six men were handed down sentences ranging from 12 to 25 years in prison for the stunt.

Subterfuge at sea


More than $20 million worth of cocaine made its way to Tauranga in a single shipment in 2017, hidden in a secret compartment on a container ship's hull.

At the time it was New Zealand's largest-ever single seizure of cocaine. Customs and police uncovered 46kg of the drug in total.

Matthew Scott, 44, Deni Cavallo, 46, Benjamin Northway, 35, and Maria Habulin, 46 were arrested for the haul. They're yet to be sentenced.

There's always money in the banana shipment 


The Tauranga bust lost its crown in November 2018 when police discovered 190 blocks, each weighing around a kilogram, in a container carrying bananas from Panama.

Police put the street value at around $25 million to $35 million.

It was New Zealand's largest known cocaine import. The find was the result of cooperation between the New Zealand Police, Customs, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

A 41-year-old man was arrested in Sydney in relation to the crimes.

Court is not a good place to bring drugs


It's nowhere near the size of the drug busts further up the list, but one woman's choice to have cannabis in her possession last week led to a weird bust.

She took it with her on a trip to Dunedin District Court and it was found by security on the way into the building.

She was released with a pre-charge warning.