Four Nigerians and a New Zealander who were part of an international drug syndicate have received long prison sentences in New Zealand.
The cartel allegedly duped an Auckland man into smuggling more than $1 million worth of methamphetamine.
According to a report by New Zealand police, the Nigerians were jailed for terms between 15 and 18 years after being found guilty of importing and possessing methamphetamine for supply.
The New Zealander was jailed for nine years for possession of methamphetamine for supply.
The police state that the sentences were handed down at the Auckland High Court on Thursday.
They emphasize that the court sentencing marked a successful end to a combined police and customs operation that began in November 2013.
One of the Nigerians, Nnamdi Augustine Iwu, 36, from Woodville, was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland to 18 years' imprisonment on several counts of importing and possessing the Class A drug for supply.
Two others – Hyacith Ochibulu and David Obiaga, both aged 44 – got 15 years and 10 months, while Ugochukwa Okpara, 27, got 16 years and two months.
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The New Zealander, 44-year-old Nancy Leefe, was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for possessing methamphetamine for supply.
The police reportedly became involved after customs officers found methamphetamine with a street value of $1.5 million in the luggage of a 68-year-old Auckland man who was said to be returning home from Papua New Guinea.
Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid said to the press that the man in question had been duped into being a drug mule.
This gave a lead for various authorities to investigate where the drugs were headed.
According to Schmid, it took a five-week operation involving Customs, police and the Organized and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand to find two more imports with methamphetamine worth more than 1.2kg.
"Both had been sent to New Zealand through the international mail system from the Philippines and Cameroon." he said.
Following the huge discovery, search warrants were executed across Auckland and Woodville on December 5, 2013, to arrest the culprits in an operation which the police dubbed Operation Gatsby.
Schmid went on to say that the effort was an example of the New Zealand agencies working together positively.
"It is also in line with our prevention strategy that together with our partner agencies we are working to target organised criminal groups who are harming our community." he added.
'The detective pointed out that the operation was proof that people around the globe were targeting New Zealand's drug market.
Airing his view on the issue, the customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien said the case was a warning for people travelling overseas.
"New Zealand travellers should remain vigilant at all times in respect of their personal security and that of their luggage," Mr O'Brien said.
Meanwhile in another crime involving a Nigerian abroad, a 22-year-old Nigerian fraudster has been apprehended in Delhi, India.
International crimes involving Nigerians seem to be on the rise by the day, and like the proverbial leopard, it seems almost impossible to dissociate crime from the name Nigeria.