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Brazilian drug trafficker sentenced to 6 years 3 months

A Brazilian woman who tried to smuggle almost one kilo of cocaine into New Zealand was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison yesterday afternoon.

Twenty-three year-old Pamela Nascimento was stopped and questioned by Customs following her arrival at Auckland Airport on 28 September 2018, having travelled from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Customs officers became suspicious after searching her bags and decided to undertake a personal search. After initially claiming she was not carrying any prohibited items, the woman admitted she had illegal drugs hidden in her clothing. She also later admitted to swallowing around 40 pellets containing illegal drugs.

In total, Nasciamento was found to be carrying 923 grams of cocaine, with an estimated street value of between $138,500 and $175,500. The potential economic and social harm to New Zealand, avoided by the detection and seizure of these illegal drugs, is estimated to be around $1.14 million.

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry says this is an example of Customs using intelligence to target drug couriers, in order to protect New Zealand’s border and reduce the harm caused in our communities.

“Not only do illegal drugs cause immense harm in our communities, the practice of swallowing drugs is extremely dangerous for the couriers – the pellets could burst and the outcome can be fatal.

“Criminal syndicates using drug couriers are not interested in the health of the couriers, nor are they interested in the penalties the couriers face when caught trafficking drugs across borders.

The maximum penalty for importing cocaine and other class A drugs is life imprisonment.

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