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Flying high: Cocaine in neck pillow leads to two arrests

Flying high: Cocaine in neck pillow leads to two arrests

Two men appeared in court today in connection to around one kilogram of cocaine found by Customs inside a neck pillow, and internally concealed by a passenger, at Auckland Airport on Sunday morning (12 January).

This quantity of cocaine, a Class A controlled drug, has a street value around $600,000.

The two charged include a 49 year old Netherlands passport holder from Thailand, and a 33 year old Australian national visiting New Zealand.

The 49 year old first time visitor was stopped for questioning by Customs officers after he arrived from Chile in the early hours of Sunday morning. He had travelled from Thailand to Brazil for a day, and then spent a week in Bolivia before coming to Auckland via Chile.

A baggage examination revealed a soft travel pillow with packages hidden inside. Ninety eight packages of white powder were recovered, which tests confirmed as cocaine.

CT scans also revealed two more pellets internally concealed by the passenger. These were recovered using Customs’ new drug loo, adding to the seizure.

Further investigations established connection with an Australian national, also visiting New Zealand, who was arrested by OFCANZ yesterday.

Customs Investigations Manager Maurice O’Brien says these arrests are another fine example of the vigilance shown by Customs officers, who were quick to identify the passenger, locate the drugs, and connect them to a counterpart.

“Customs uses a range of methods to identify people and drug concealments, and those that try to import drugs into the country will not get away with it.”

“We work closely with our Police and OFCANZ colleagues, and are committed to severing the drug supply chain at the border, apprehending not just the passenger, but others involved,” he says.

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