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$100 million worth of meth

Ella Stokes
  NZ Police

A drug expert says someone very clever has been at work disguising methamphetamine as dish wash liquid.

Although the deception wasn't clever enough to prevent four men ending up in Auckland District Court on Wednesday.

The four men were charged with a range of offences, related to the supply of methamphetamine and the possession of equipment with intent to manufacture a controlled drug. The were remanded in custody and will re-appear in court in April.

They imported 160 litres of substance known as t-boc. Which street worth valued at about 100 million dollars.

Canterbury University's Professor of Toxicology Ian Shaw said the drug makers knew what they were doing.

"T-boc is a chemical that can be added to another molecule and changes the structure of that molecule. Therefore t-boc can be added to meth and it makes it into a completely different molecule which results in it not being illegal and be difficult to be detected"

Ian Shaw said that he thought the idea would be that once the disguised methamphetamine got to New Zealand, the drug makers would take the t-boc molecule off, regenerating the illegal drug. He said that some of the illegal labs in New Zealand that process methamphetamine would be plenty sophisticated enough to knock the molecule off.

He said he didn't think there was a high risk of more t-boc entering the country, as Customs now knew about it. The compound isn't covered by any regulation, however.

Shaw said there is an awful lot of evidence to show that a lot of people in New Zealand consume methamphetamine. A recent study revealed high levels of meth in Auckland's sewers.

It is believed to be the first time that t-boc has been seized in New Zealand.