Two admit part in drugs ring

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:00 05/06/2014

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Two Brazilian men living in Christchurch have admitted possession of cocaine for supply, but one of them continues to deny a charge of importing the drug.

For one of the men, a decision will now be made about whether his sentencing will take place in the District Court or be sent to the High Court, where a co-offender has already received a six-year jail term for importing.

Thiago August De Oliveira, a 31-year-old factory hand, was charged only with possession of cocaine for supply.

He has been on bail since soon after his arrest in Christchurch in March as part of the police's Operation Grenoble investigation.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders told him the police would now hand the file over to the Crown which would decide which court would carry out the sentencing.

The judge remanded De Oliveira to June 26 in Christchurch, when that decision will be announced. Police have not objected to him remaining on bail as there have been no breaches during his time on remand.

Defence counsel Peter Doody said De Oliveira had made a full statement to the police.

Marcos Andre Barbosa, 35, a labourer, admitted the possession-for-supply charge but denied a charge of importing, and was remanded in custody by Judge Stephen O'Driscoll to a case review hearing at Manukau in Auckland on August 6.

He appeared in the Christchurch District Court by video-link from the men's prison where he is being held on remand.

Serina Bailey appeared as defence counsel.

The third Christchurch man, Josue Da Conceicao, 36, of Linwood, faces charges of importing and possession, and remains in custody.

Defence counsel Ruth Buddicom said the case could not progress today as no Portugese interpreter had been arranged for his appearance.

Judge Saunders agreed to remand the case without plea to Tuesday when an interpreter can be present.

Joao Batista Da Silveira, 39, was sentenced in April to six years in jail at the High Court in Auckland after he admitted being a drug mule.

Da Silveira had arrived at Auckland International Airport on March 7 with 2.35 kilograms of cocaine worth $3.5 million hidden in the lining of his suitcase.

He confessed to police that he had been given $2000 for his role, with a further payment of $20,000 due when he returned to Brazil.

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- The Press

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