Wellington, November 13, 2017
Customs arrested a 38-year-old Brazilian man at Auckland Airport yesterday for trying to smuggle three kilograms cocaine, worth up to $1.3 million, in the lining of his suitcase. He appeared in the Manukau District Court this afternoon and remains in custody.
The man arrived from Chile on Sunday and was questioned by Customs.
A baggage search revealed inconsistencies in his suitcase, and Customs’ drug identification device indicated the presence of cocaine.
This was confirmed once officers drilled into it.
Customs Manager Passenger Operations at Auckland Airport Peter Lewis said that risk-assessing, questioning passengers and searching luggage is part of everyday operations.
“It is not uncommon to find drug couriers trying to sneak through as legitimate travellers, but our officers are well-trained and equipped to identify them. This seizure is the result of thorough work by our frontline officers as well as those working behind the scenes to identify risk-travellers. As Customs gears up for increasing travel volumes over summer, we will be putting just as much focus on drug couriers,” he said.
Customs has arrested seven drug couriers at Auckland Airport in the last three months. They arrived from Thailand, Chile, and Brazil, carrying a total of over 20 kilograms of either methamphetamine or cocaine. Based on the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, these seizures have prevented around $25.7 million of additional harm to our communities.
Customs seize 3 kgs of cocaine from a Brazilian carrier in Auckland on November 12, 2017