Portuguese man jailed for eight years over $1.2 million Auckland Airport cocaine find

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NZN

A Portuguese drug courier has been jailed for trying to smuggle 2.6kg of cocaine through Auckland Airport.

Cocaine weighing 2.6kg seized at Auckland Airport in October 2017.

Cocaine weighing 2.6kg seized at Auckland Airport in October 2017.

Source: NZ Customs

Helder Soares Gomez, 47, will spend eight years and three months in prison after appearing for sentence in Manukau District Court today.

He will be deported after serving his term.

Gomez was stopped by Customs officers when he arrived in Auckland from Chile on October 13.

Customs says a baggage examination revealed cocaine, with a street value of up to $1.2 million, hidden in the lining of his two suitcases.

During interview, he admitted to agreeing to carry the cocaine-filled bags for money.

Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry says three other cocaine couriers have since been arrested at the airport.

He says Customs has worked with overseas partners to stop another courier from travelling to New Zealand.

The five couriers intercepted carried a total of 15.8kg of cocaine.

Mr Berry says that, based on the NZ drug harm index, the airport seizures have prevented around $19.6 million of potential additional harm to New Zealanders.

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