Kiwi kickboxer Peter Leaitua arrested on drug trafficking charges

A Kiwi kickboxer has reportedly been arrested in Colombia and is due to face drug trafficking charges in Argentina.

The Columbia Reports website said Peter Leaitua was arrested at the international airport of Medellin, Colombia's second largest city.

According to Argentine authorities, the amateur kickboxer "used his reputation as a kickbox fighter to take advantage of his contacts and influences in illegal activities".

The newspaper El Tiempo reported that the sportsman was in Colombia to "co-ordinate new ways of trafficking cocaine from Colombia to Europe and Oceania where the price of a gram of cocaine can exceed $200".

Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol showed him pulling a suitcase into an immigration office with Colombian airport police.

The lawyer of a New Zealand kickboxer arrested trying to leave Columbia has been asked to send official documents to authorities proving he was not convicted of drug trafficking.

New Zealand-based lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith said members of Peter Leaitua's family had contacted him asking for paperwork confirming he was acquitted of all drug charges in New Zealand.

Mr Wilkinson-Smith said family had told him Leaitua had been arrested at the border and seemed to think it was from previous charges he faced in 2011.

The family wanted official confirmation proving it had been dealt with."I've sent that to them. That seemed to be an issue that the Colombians may not have been aware that he faced those charges and was acquitted here in New Zealand," said Mr Wilkinson-Smith.

He had since provided the documents."My role has simply been to forward to his family so they can give it to the Colombians to confirm that in terms of the New Zealand charges he's been exonerated."

Mr Wilkinson-Smith did not know if this latest arrest involved fresh offending by his former client.

"I don't know whether there are fresh allegations or if these are in some way a hangover from these previous matters."

Leaitua has a history of drug related charges globally.

In 2011 Leaitua was charged with manslaughter after his mother-in-law died after several cocaine capsules exploded in her stomach.

He had flown to New Zealand from Argentina with his wife, children and mother-in-law Sorlinda Aristizabal Vega.

An autopsy found 26 capsules of cocaine in her stomach. He faced two trials for the manslaughter.

The first trial ended in a hung jury and in the second he was found not guilty.

During the trial he admitted he had spent 18 months in a French jail after being caught attempting to smuggle cocaine into the country.

It's not thought Leaitua had won any kickboxing titles in New Zealand and had only had a handful of amateur bouts.

- NZ Herald

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