A New Zealander being held on drugs charges in Ecuador claims he was framed and fears his stupidity could be costly.
Wellington man Scott Elliot is being held in Quito's Centre for Provisional Detention after he was intercepted at the airport by police with a briefcase containing around a kilogram of cocaine.
Mr Elliot told Fairfax he was facing the grim prospect of a lengthy jail term in some of the most appalling conditions imaginable.
He now regretted leaving the country but said it was to try to keep his Hong Kong-based cellphone business afloat.
He told Fairfaix he had travelled to Ecaudor from Argentina to pick up a briefcase of legal documents for a friend.
He looked inside the case and saw only documents.
But soon after checking in at the airport to make the return trip to Argentina he was pulled aside by police.
A panel from the bottom of the case tested positive for a cocaine precursor.
He is due in court in about a fortnight and could face up to seven years in prison.
"It was stupid on my part, and obviously I'll be paying the price," he told Fairfax.
Mr Elliot, who is facing insolvency charges in Wellington, said he was missing his family and Brisbane-based partner, but trying to see the experience as "character building".
Elliott was jailed in 2002 on wounding and robbery charges, and was on bail facing drugs charges in 2007 when he admitted his part in an aggravated robbery in which convicted killer Graeme Burton attacked a man in a Courtenay Place apartment building.
Elliott's father, Max Elliott, said it was stressful trying to support his son from a distance.
He believed his son had reformed, and the insolvency charges were "trumped up".
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff had been helping him send money, clothes and books.