Drug importer found guilty at re-trial
A Lithuanian man who directed ecstasy imports into New Zealand hidden in consignments of granite has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Rokas Karpavicius was found guilty at a re-trial in the High Court at Auckland of two counts of importing ecstasy from Europe in 2007.
Justice Rebecca Ellis said Karpavicius directed the "large scale" importations to New Zealand where local man Ronald Terence Brown, known as Terry, distributed the drugs.
Brown is serving 11 years for his part in the ring.
Justice Ellis said Australian police found 28kg of ecstasy hidden in granite statues imported from Lithuania.
They alerted New Zealand police who discovered four such importations into New Zealand in 2006 and 2007; the two in 2007 led to the current charges.
The judge said Karpavicius was already serving a sentence of six years after being found guilty of laundering $2.2 million and importing LSD.
The importation of the Class B drugs was undecided in that trial, leading to the re-trial.
The proceeds he was caught laundering did not include $500,000 in cash found in a safe deposit box, the judge said.
The money was transmitted back to Europe via a company called Kamo Ltd and by "money mules" who visited New Zealand and carried cash back.
Pictures of the money mules were found on cameras when police raided Brown's Auckland home.
Karpavicius was extradited to New Zealand after he absconded in 2001 while facing other drugs charges.
Justice Ellis sentenced him to 11 years, three months in prison with a minimum period of five years.