A New Zealander who could face the death penalty for allegedly trying to smuggle methamphetamine out of China is expected to find out today whether he will be charged.

Peter Gardner, 25, has been held at a detention centre in Guangzhou, China, since his arrest on November 8.

Tomorrow will be Gardner's 37th day in detention - the longest amount of time Chinese authorities can keep a person without releasing them or charging them.

If charged and convicted, Gardner, who now lives in Sydney, could be sentenced to death by firing squad.

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New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of Gardner's situation and a diplomat had visited him at the detention centre.

However, a spokesman for the ministry said today it had no updates on whether Gardener had been charged.

Today, the Sydney Morning Herald reported customs officials believed Gardner was involved in a drug smuggling plot.

The paper said Guangzhou Customs had alleged Gardner was the owner of two bags checked on to flight CZ325 from Guangzhou to Sydney, which were later found to contain methamphetamine.

Officials said the zippers of the bags were sealed with super glue and when opened at Baiyun Airport, 60 vacuum-sealed bags, which contained a total of 30kg methamphetamine, were found inside.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported it was the largest haul of methamphetamine ever seized by Guangzhou customs.

Gardner's 22-year-old girlfriend, Kalynda Davis - the daughter of a former senior Sydney policeman - was also detained, but has since been released and returned to Sydney last week.

Chinese officials said they believed Ms Davis had no knowledge of the plot and was not involved.

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