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Eight years’ jail for Brazilian $3.2M cocaine courier

10.43am 15 June 2017 | News

A 29-year-old Brazilian woman was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in the Manukau District Court this afternoon, for attempting to smuggle 4.6 kg of cocaine in her luggage.

On 2 April 2017, Evelin Stemposki arrived at Auckland Airport on a flight from Brazil via Chile. While en-route to New Zealand, Customs identified her as a high-risk passenger. 

Upon arrival, she told Customs officers she was starting a language course the next day. However, questioning and baggage x-rays led to the discovery of 4.6 kg of cocaine in false bottoms of both her suitcases, with a potential street value of up to $3.2 million.

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says while the woman had created an elaborate cover-up story, Customs officers are trained to be suspicious, and the x-rays revealed she was hiding something.

"This sentence reflects a good outcome for the vigilance and hard work of our Customs officers involved in the pre-screening for risk, as well as those working at the frontline.

"Transnational criminal syndicates recruit drug couriers through various means, and have no concern for their wellbeing. These individuals end up bearing the brunt of the law."

If you have suspicions about a person that may be getting enticed or duped by criminal syndicates into drug smuggling here or overseas, call 0800 4 CUSTOMS in confidence.