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Arrest for cocaine in suitcases

11.50am 06 September 2017 | News

Two Latvian nationals have appeared in the Manukau District Court after Customs officers located 8 kgs of cocaine hidden in their suitcases.

This is Customs’ third arrest at Auckland Airport in three days.

The 24-year-old man and 30-year-old woman arrived at Auckland Airport from Chile on Monday (4 September) and were profiled by Customs. Thorough baggage examination located an estimated 8 kgs of cocaine hidden within their suitcases.

The pair are charged for importing and possessing for supply a class A controlled drug, and face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Customs arrested a 44-year-old French national who arrived at Auckland Airport from Thailand on Saturday 2 September after locating 2.3 kgs of methamphetamine hidden in his false bottom suitcase. He also faces similar charges.

Customs Manager Passenger Operations Peter Lewis says these arrests highlight Customs has the right processes and people in place to identify the criminals hiding within the crowds.

“Customs places emphasis on giving legitimate passengers a positive airport experience, but this doesn’t mean we’re not as equally focussed on targeting and stopping drug couriers.

“It doesn’t matter which nationality these drug couriers are, where they’re travelling from, or what type of drugs they’re trying to smuggle. Customs officers have a good understanding what to look out for, and will do all it takes to eliminate that risk. This is a fantastic result.”