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Airport arrest nets $1.9 M worth of cocaine

10.47am 23 March 2018 | News

A 30-year-old first time visitor to New Zealand will not be doing a lot of sight-seeing after Customs officers found 4.3 kg of cocaine hidden in her two false bottom suitcases at Auckland Airport.

The cocaine has an estimated street value of between $1.2 and $1.9 M.

The Uruguay national, who appeared in the Manukau District Court today, arrived on a flight from Argentina on Wednesday and was arrested after a detailed examination of her suitcases led to the discovery of the cocaine.

Customs Manager Airport Operations, Peter Lewis, says the arrest is a testament to the ongoing work by Customs that includes the use of technology and passenger information to improve profiling to identify high-risk passengers.

“In this instance, the Customs officer did everything that was expected. From the detailed questions and examination of her luggage, the officer recognised the signs that successfully identified the passenger as a drug courier.

“The seizure suggests there is a market for cocaine, Customs is committed to preventing it and any other drugs from getting past our border and onto our streets.”

The woman is charged with importing and possession for supply of a class A drug, and faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.