Two members of an international cartel that imported $1.5m of methamphetamine have had their appeals thrown out.

David Ikenna Obiaga was found guilty of importing and possessing meth for supply after a lengthy trial last year with several other offenders, and sentenced to 15 years 10 months jail.

Nancy Leefe was convicted on only the latter charge and imprisoned for 9 years.

On November 11, 2013, police were alerted to the group's activities when 69-year-old Trevor Miranda was stopped by Customs at Auckland Airport and found to be carrying the large consignment of P on return from Papua New Guinea.

Advertisement

He agreed to help police nab those behind the operation and was later acquitted of importing and possessing a class-A drug.

Following one botched handover of the luggage containing the valuable drug, on November 21 Mr Miranda finally passed on the bags, which landed in the hands of Obiaga via Leefe.

Obiaga's next task was to deliver the drugs to those further up the chain of command - to Hyacinth Damus Ochibulu, Ugochukwa Kingsley Okpara and Nnamdi Augustine Iwu.

The Crown pegged 36-year-old Iwu as the "prime mover" in the New Zealand branch of the cartel, with 27-year-old Okpara acting as his "right-hand man".

The plan was for Obiaga to conceal the bags under some bushes in the Air New Zealand cargo car park near the airport for the others to retrieve.

But three days later when they came to pick them up, there was nothing inside the bags because it had been removed hours earlier by police.

Obiaga appealed his conviction and sentence last month, claiming he had been let down by his lawyers.

But the Court of Appeal described the defendant as "not an easy client" and said his counsel had done all they could.

The judges even said he was "fortunate" to avoid a minimum-period of imprisonment.
Leefe appealed on a different basis.

During its deliberation, the jury asked to review a recorded interview. While it was being shown, the foreperson excused himself for ill-health and returned to the jury room where he was later found collapsed on the floor having suffered a "heart incident".

One of the jurors was a nurse and began CPR. She was soon joined by the police officer in charge of the case before the man was rushed to hospital.

"It was apparent that the efforts of the officer in charge and the nurse had probably saved the foreperson's life," the court said.

Defence lawyers at the time applied to have the trial aborted but, after interviewing jurors individually, Justice Susan Thomas opted to finish the trial.

The Court of Appeal found no reason to deviate from that decision and Leefe's appeal against conviction was denied.

Her other arguments about the admissibility of statements made against her were also rejected by the judges.