Woman jailed for smuggling meth-filled condoms
10.55am 23 May 2018 | News
A 49-year-old dual New Zealand-American citizen has been sentenced in the Christchurch District Court to three and a half years' jail for organising female associates to smuggle methamphetamine inside their bodies from Hawaii in December 2015.
Customs began to investigate Shimaine Riviere in October 2015 after developing an intelligence profile that identified her as someone who was likely to attempt to smuggle methamphetamine using internal couriers.
Two of her associates left for Hawaii in mid-December 2015, and Customs officers were waiting when they returned through Auckland International Airport a week later. A baggage and body search did not reveal any drugs, but it was determined they were both concealing the methamphetamine internally.
The methamphetamine had been hidden in double-layered condoms, weighing approximately 224 grams, with a street value between $44,800 - $224,000. Both women were sentenced to home detention in late 2016 and early 2017.
Customs arrested Riviere at Christchurch International Airport when she arrived from Los Angeles in February 2016 after the investigation established she had organised the smuggling and was the head of the syndicate.
Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says while travellers internally-concealing drugs is not an everyday event, Customs is well aware of the lengths drug traffickers will go to and are always vigilant.
"While 240 grams isn't a particularly large quantity of drugs, this case showcases the strength of Customs' intelligence work, our investigations that led to the dismantling of a drug smuggling syndicate.
"There are obvious health risks associated with this method of concealment and internal drug couriers put their lives in danger. If one of the packages were to burst, it would be fatal."