'Red notice' issued for Kiwi over fatal condom cocaine explosion

Sorlinda Vega died after a package of cocaine exploded inside her. Photo / Supplied
Sorlinda Vega died after a package of cocaine exploded inside her. Photo / Supplied

A Kiwi linked to a Columbian who died in Auckland when a condom full of cocaine exploded in her stomach is wanted by police in connection with a Buenos Aires drug syndicate.

Drug mule Sorlinda Vega, 37, went into cardiac arrest and died of a heart attack after a package of 20g of cocaine inside her split following her flight from Argentina to Auckland.

Peter Leaitua, 40, is understood to be her son-in-law and travelled on the same flight along with his wife and two children, the Dominion Post reported.

Mr Leaitua is wanted by Argentina police for drugs charges and Interpol Buenos-Aires have issued a "red notice" for him.

The drug ring moves cocaine to Europe via New Zealand and Australia, Buenos Aires police announced last month.

The syndicate is understood to export the drugs using human mules and in shampoo bottles, injected into fabric or clothing.

Detective Senior Sergeant Liam Clinton, of Interpol Wellington, would not comment on the details of the red notice.

"We will of course assist the Argentine authorities with any inquiries they may request through Interpol Wellington.

"Interpol Wellington confirms there may be an apparent link between Mr Leaitua and Sorlinda Aristizabal-Vega, the Columbian woman who died in Auckland Hospital on 7 September. This is part of the ongoing Coronial investigation and not related to the Red Notice.

"As it is a Coronial matter it is inappropriate for police to comment further about the investigation into her death."

Mr Clinton said the Interpol Red Notice is not an international arrest warrant, as there is no such thing.

"In New Zealand we cannot arrest on the basis of a Red Notice," he said. "There must be a provisional arrest warrant issued by a New Zealand Court, pursuant to a formal extradition request. If located, Argentina would be required to make an extradition request to New Zealand through formal diplomatic channels."

- APNZ

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