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Drug mastermind cops 14 years' jail

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/10/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">A woman who was the primary architect of a scam which imported 250kg of a meth precursor labelled as potato starch has been jailed for 14 years.</span> © Getty A woman who was the primary architect of a scam which imported 250kg of a meth precursor labelled as potato starch has been jailed for 14 years. A woman who played a leading role in the importation of almost 250kg of drugs to make methamphetamine has been jailed for 14 years.

Yixin Gan was last month found guilty of importing and supplying the meth-prescursor pseudoephedrine contained in a flu remedy bought over the counter in China.

In sentencing Gan to a minimum term of eight years and four months' prison in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday, Justice Matthew Downs said the 250kg of drugs imported October in 2013 were conservatively valued at almost $8.9 million.

She was also found guilty of importing other shipments of pseudoephedrine between May 2012 and June 2013.

The court heard she operated a business importing foodstuffs from China via New Zealand but that were ultimately destined for Tonga.

The drugs, labelled as potato starch or corn starch, were held in a customs-secure area in Auckland where they did not undergo screening by Customs as they were in transit.

They were switched out for the proper goods by a cargo handler paid $60,000 for his role in the operation, and then forwarded to Tonga.

Others were involved in the distribution of the drugs.

Justice Downs said she was the primary architect of the importation which the Crown labelled a "near-perfect scam" and which police uncovered by mistake while investigating someone else.

Gan had returned to New Zealand voluntarily from China, where her three young children and husband remain, to face the charges.

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