Man jailed for $1m money laundering
A Lithuanian man who travelled to New Zealand to launder more than $1 million in drug money has been jailed for two years and nine months.
Donatas Jukna was arrested at a border crossing in Germany and extradited to New Zealand earlier this year.
He was on an Interpol wanted list following Operation Keyboard, a New Zealand police operation targeting the drug ring of Auckland kingpin Ronald Terence Brown.
Brown is currently serving 11 years for importing ecstasy, methamphetamine and LSD.
Jukna came to New Zealand in 2008 with an associate, Martynas Cikas.
Judge Christopher Field told the Auckland District Court today that the pair transferred or smuggled out more than $1m either by telegraphic transfer or hidden in their luggage.
The cash was payment from Brown to his European drug supplier.
New Zealand police followed the pair and seized money from their luggage as they left the country, but did not arrest them as the operation was ongoing.
Judge Field said Jukna's involvement was "far beyond someone who was naive".
Jukna disputed the amount he had laundered, saying it was closer to $800,000, though the judge said in any case the amount was "significant".
"You were part of a large and well organised ring," the judge said.
Jukna will be deported once he is eligible for parole.
The judge said Jukna was "anxious to start, and finish, his sentence".