Operation Mist: Ex-cop praises “fantastic job” of police after cocaine bust, explains why New Zealand becomes target of cartel



It is understood that the suspected drug traffickers have direct links to the cartels in Medellín, the capital of the Colombian province of Antioquia. Key people in Colombia have been identified by local police, and more arrests are expected. Williams noted that Colombian authorities played a crucial role in the operation.

Speaking to The AM Show on Friday morning, Lance Burdett, a former personal protection officer and chief crisis negotiator with New Zealand Police, praised the “fantastic job” of some 70 officers and customs officials involved in the attack.

“The only thing about this country is that the police and customs work together and they do a fantastic job in the background, invisible. The work they do is state of the art, in the use of folks… a bust like this would’ve been going on for a while – it might take two, three, four years. I think we should be confident in that fact, ”Burdett told The AM Show.

He said he was not surprised by the scale of the transport, noting that organized crime groups were extremely adept at concealing narcotics using a wide variety of methods.

“The size of this one doesn’t surprise me – if you want to give it a try, give it a try. People bring drugs in all kinds of ways. When I was around the Drug Squad years ago, they dissolved it in. paint, then paint it on the windows, and [they] dry the paint and scrape it and put it in a solution. They always come up with inventive means, ”he explained.

Burdett admitted that it’s not entirely clear how many cover-ups go through customs undetected and infiltrate New Zealand communities.

“How do you know that? … I’ve heard that everything from 10 percent gets caught up to 100 percent.”

However, Burdett said he was “reasonably confident” that the majority of shipments are picked up at the border, noting that there are a myriad of ways police and customs are working together “to overcome these issues.”

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Superintendent Williams said Operation Mist is a unique investigation as it has linked the importation of cocaine from South America and Spain into New Zealand, as well as money laundering offenses in America. He added that the operation had “dealt a blow” to the organized criminal group and subsequently to the supply of cocaine to Aotearoa. The group is said to have been one of New Zealand’s “major suppliers” of cocaine, with the drug selling here at a much higher price than in other parts of the world.

From his experience, Burdett says it is unusual that New Zealand is now seen as a prime target for business expansion by Latin American cartels, but noted that drug use is prolific among our people. communities.

“I think it’s like any other business – how do you grow your business? You diversify, you find new markets, you go into new products – it’s basically a growing business.” , did he declare. “A dollar is better than no dollar. You have to look at where the opportunities are.

“It’s unusual, I think, for Latin America to see New Zealand as an opportunity, which might indicate – and we are among the heaviest drug users in the world, per capita. “


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