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US drug mule jailed for six years

28 May 2014

US drug mule jailed for six years

A 28-year-old United States national was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in the Manukau District Court today, for trying to smuggle four kilograms of methamphetamine into New Zealand.

Customs officers arrested the man at Auckland International Airport in January after finding several packages of methamphetamine, with a street value of between $2.8 and $4.8 million dollars, hidden inside his two laptop bags.

Manager Investigations, Maurice O’Brien says drug mules often try to pass themselves off as legitimate travellers but Customs is continually honing its efforts to profile people and detect drugs to break the methamphetamine supply chain at the border.

“This case involved some excellent work by our highly skilled Customs officers, and the real victory is keeping these harmful drugs off our streets.”

“Drug mules usually bear the brunt of the consequences and feel the full force of the law — getting involved in this criminal activity just isn’t worth the risks,” he says.

Customs also aims to apprehend criminals further up the chain by using a variety of techniques, and working closely with Police and other agencies in New Zealand and overseas.

The sentencing took into account an early guilty plea and previous good character. The maximum penalty for importing class A drugs into New Zealand is life imprisonment.

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