Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Not guilty plea following New Zealand's biggest cocaine bust

Gonzalo Rivera Pavon entered not guilty pleas to charges he smuggled $14 million worth of cocaine into the country in a 400kg diamante-encrusted horse sculpture. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Gonzalo Rivera Pavon entered not guilty pleas to charges he smuggled $14 million worth of cocaine into the country in a 400kg diamante-encrusted horse sculpture. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Name suppression has today lapsed for a Mexican man charged over the biggest cocaine bust in New Zealand history.

Gonzalo Rivera Pavon, 29, this morning also entered not guilty pleas to charges he smuggled $14 million of cocaine into the country in a 400kg diamante-encrusted horse sculpture, which had been freighted by air from Mexico.

Pavon made his second appearance from custody in Christchurch District Court after earlier this month being charged with importing the Class A drug cocaine and possession for supply of cocaine.

Charging documents list him as being a bartender and having a Christchurch address.

Duty solicitor Steve Hembrow said police opposed bail for Pavon.

Judge Stephen O'Driscoll will make a decision on bail later this morning.

In May, a joint Customs and police investigation uncovered 35 bricks of high-grade cocaine, weighing 1kg each.

After weeks of intense surveillance and intelligence work, police swooped on July 1 at Auckland International Airport.

A 44-year-old Mexican and a 56-year-old American have also been charged with importing a Class A drug and possession for supply of a Class A drug.

- NZ Herald

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