Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Cocaine bust: Third person appears in court

A third person charged over the biggest cocaine bust in New Zealand history has appeared in court in Christchurch this morning.

The 29-year-old Mexico national was arrested on Saturday in relation to the $14 million drugs haul.

He appeared from custody in Christchurch District Court this morning charged with importing the Class A drug cocaine and possession for supply of cocaine.

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Duty solicitor Steve Hembrow said police opposed bail for the man. Charging documents listed him as having a Christchurch address.

Mr Hembrow asked for a one-week remand in custody so that a bail application could be prepared. He also applied for interim name suppression for "one week only" so that the man could inform his family of his predicament.

Judge Jane Farish granted interim name suppression and remanded him in custody until July 11.

He nodded to three men at the back of the public gallery as he was led back into custody.
In May, a joint Customs and police investigation uncovered 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine, weighing 1kg each.

A joint Customs and police investigation resulted in the largest-ever seizure of cocaine in New Zealand. Photo / Supplied
A joint Customs and police investigation resulted in the largest-ever seizure of cocaine in New Zealand. Photo / Supplied

They had been smuggled into the country in a 400kg diamante-encrusted horse sculpture, which had been freighted by air from Mexico.

After weeks of intense surveillance and intelligence work, police swooped on Friday morning at Auckland International Airport.

A 44-year-old Mexican and a 56-year-old American appeared in Manukau District Court over the weekend charged with importing a Class A drug and possession for supply of a Class A drug.

The 44-year-old Mexican national and the American also appeared in Manukau District Court this morning.

The Mexican entered no plea and was remanded in custody. He was granted interim name suppression and will next appear on July 25.

The American national, charged with importing the Class A drug and receiving it for supply, was also remand in custody without plea until July 25.

He was also granted interim name suppression.

- NZ Herald

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