Four members of an international gang have been jailed for jewellery heists, in which more than $700,000 of jewellery was taken in Auckland.
Three men from Latin America, Cesar Orlando Romero, Javier Espinosa Agreda and Juan Carlos Leal Casillas appeared in the Auckland District Court today and were sentenced to three years and six months in prison, after pleading guilty to two aggravated robberies in May last year.
A woman, Maria Teresa Martinez, was sentenced to two years and six months after pleading guilty to one charge of aggravated robbery.
Crown prosecutor Scott McColgan said the four were part of a transnational organised crime syndicate which had travelled to New Zealand to commit crime.
The victims were Australian and Asian dealers in New Zealand to buy and sell jewellery.
One, from Sydney, lost jewellery worth $110,000 in Parnell on May 2.
Two other international dealers were robbed of more than $600,000 in gems outside Rydges Hotel in central Auckland on May 17.
Most of the stolen jewellery has been recovered.
Judge Roy Wade said the robberies were planned weeks, if not months, in advance which showed a significant degree of planning and sophistication.
All four will be deported back to their home countries when paroled.