Customs have allegedly nabbed five puffer jackets that were secretly lined with up to $875,000 of cocaine, in incoming baggage at Christchurch Airport.
An United States woman has appeared in the Christchurch District Court today charged with importation and possession of a Class A controlled drug.
Customs arrested and charged the 43-year-old at Christchurch Airport yesterday.
A statement from Customs alleges an examination of the woman's baggage revealed a total of 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, with a potential street value of up to $875,000, had been hidden in the lining of five puffer jackets.
The woman had flown to New Zealand from Zimbabwe via Ethiopia and Singapore, and her travel had come to the attention of Customs officers.
Customs' southern ports manager Joe Cannon said all travellers and goods entering New Zealand are risk assessed by Customs.
"Drug seizures like this one are infrequent in Christchurch," Cannon said.
"This latest seizure is the result of excellent intelligence work and the professionalism of our frontline Customs officers at the airport.
"We are pleased to have stopped this cocaine from reaching the streets of our second largest city."
Demand for cocaine in New Zealand remains high, and organised crime groups see New Zealand as a lucrative market for their illegal activities, Cannon said.
"Customs officers across the country are focused on protecting New Zealand and making us safer and more secure by reducing the risks associated with international trade and travel, such as illicit drugs."