Two Fijian seamen accused of bringing up to about $17 million worth of methamphetamine into Tauranga will defend the allegation at a jury trial.
Noa Grantham Turuva Kunaqoro, 30, an ordinary seaman, and Taniela Delaisavui Molidegei, 32, able seaman, appeared in the Tauranga District Court today via an audiovisual link from prison.
They denied joint charges of importing 32.94kg of methamphetamine into New Zealand.
They also pleaded not guilty to two further charges each of possession of methamphetamine for supply.
They elected a trial by jury.
The Crown alleges the pair brought drugs into the Port of Tauranga onboard container ship Southern Moana, which arrived from Fiji on November 18 last year.
Customs allege that, during a search of the vessel, the drugs were found hidden in bags in various locations on the ship.
Judge Tony Adeane further remanded the defendants in custody to next appear in the same court on March 27 for a case review hearing.
The trial date has not yet been set.