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Another drug courier sentenced for cocaine smuggling

01.27pm 10 May 2018 | News

A Brazilian man who pleaded guilty for importing cocaine has been sentenced to seven years and eight months’ jail at the Manukau District Court.

Customs arrested and laid charges against 46-year-old Victor Da Cunha Bastos Filho, following a baggage check at Auckland Airport in August 2017.

Filho was on a transit stopover from Chile en-route to Cambodia when he came to the attention of Customs officers.

A search of his suitcase found seven wooden art ornaments that on closer examination, revealed concealed white powder that tested positive for cocaine.

Filho told Customs officers he had purchased the wooden ornaments at a street market in Lima and had intended to give them to his wife as a gift on his return to Brazil.

In total, the ornaments hid 1.7 kg of cocaine, with a potential street value of up to $771,000.

Customs Manager Passenger Operations at Auckland Airport, Peter Lewis, says the sentence is a testament to the vigilant work by Customs officers, using all available information to improve profiling and identify high-risk passengers.

"This should send a strong message to those who think they can get away with smuggling into New Zealand. Because this man has decided to take the risk, he now faces a lengthy jail term a long way from home, and a criminal conviction with his ability to travel internationally severely affected in the future."