New Zealand Police have arrested two men over importing a large quantity of methamphetamine concealed in beer cans.
A 40-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday 28th March morning and appeared before Judge Kate Davenport in the Auckland District Court on charges of possessing methamphetamine for supply and supplying methamphetamine.
Judge Davenport continued the man’s interim name suppression after he received it on Tuesday night in front of Judge Peter Winter.
The man was bailed, but is unable to contact the first man arrested in connection with the haul, is on a 24-hour curfew with the exception for work and has surrendered any passports.
According to Auckland police, methamphetamine was concealed in a retail-ready looking can called ‘Honey Bear House Beer’ which comes in blue and red 473ml cans, with a picture of a red bear and a maple leaf on a blue background.
Auckland Police have confirmed they raided an industrial property in Manukau in the second week of March where they found a “significant” amount of methamphetamine concealed amongst the beer cans.
Detective Inspector Glenn Baldwin said part of the shipment contained liquid methamphetamine concealed inside cans, with the remainder containing beer.
Police have also arrested a 30-year-old man in relation to a seizure of beer laced with methamphetamine after it potentially killed a person who “innocently sat down for a beer after work”.
The man was arrested at Auckland Airport on March 10 and is before the Auckland District Court, police announced.
One of the men arrested by Auckland police is Baltej Singh, who is a nephew of Satwant Singh.
Satwant Singh and fellow bodyguard Beant Singh had assassinated Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star in October 1984.
Baltej Singh had often been hailed in local Auckland Gurudwaras for being a relative of Satwant Singh by Khalistan supporters.
As per an Auckland local resident who has know-how about local Khalistan supporters, Satwant Singh’s brother and his family had relocated to New Zealand in the 1980s and were running a small grocery shop in Auckland. However, a sudden increase in their wealth was noticed in recent months.
Baltej Singh’s father became the proprietor of a real estate firm named Ray White and even bought a house valued at more than NZ$23 million (Rs 100 Crore).
As per local Aucklanders, Baltej Singh is known to be one the primary masterminds and fundraisers for anti-India and pro-Khalistan demonstrations organised in New Zealand.
The Australia today understand Baltej is currently in jail and undergoing trial on charges of drug peddling.
Detective inspector Baldwin said forensic inquiries into the shipment were ongoing.
Police have told The Australia Today, “So far 328kg of methamphetamine has been recovered in crystallised form from the industrial address and it would have caused ‘extensive’ social harm.”
Police began their investigations after the death of a man Aiden Sagala, who died after he unknowingly drank beer contaminated with methamphetamine and said he was given a 24-pack of “Honey Beer House Beer” by a colleague.
“It is important to emphasise that our inquiries are still in the early stages, with further pathology tests and results still pending,” Baldwin said.
A small part of the shipment was given away, with police advising anyone still in possession of a can to contact police immediately on 10/5 quoting the file number 230310/6793.