New arrests in $20m cocaine bust case

The ship the drugs were seized from in New Zealand's largest cocaine bust . Photo: Andrew Campbell.

Two further arrests have been made in relation to New Zealand’s largest ever cocaine seizure.

The four men arrested last month as part of the $20 million cocaine bust are also facing new charges.

Matthew Scott, 44, Deni Cavallo, 46, Benjamin Northway, 35, and Mario Habulin, 46, all appeared in the dock at Tauranga Court today.

Two Aucklanders, a man and woman, also face charges in relation to the seizure which involved a five-month long operation by Customs and police.

An estimated 46 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of around NZ$20 million ($450 per gram), was seized from an address in Tauranga at the beginning of last month. 

The four original accused initially faced charges related to possession for the supply of cocaine, possession for the supply of methamphetamine, import and export of cocaine and participation in an organised criminal group.

In today’s appearance, Crown Prosecutor Anna Pollett says new charges are now being laid against the men include money laundering, conspiring to deal with a class A drug and charges to sell/give/supply/administer/deal cocaine.

All men are yet to enter a plea.

During their first appearance at the beginning of last month, a request was made by police to have the matters transferred to the Auckland court.

Judge Philip Crayton says these matters are no longer being advanced.

He ordered the men be remanded in custody until December 18, where they will have a chance to enter a plea.

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