Drug mule jailed for five years
A Dutch national who smuggled nearly a kilogram of cocaine into New Zealand in his travel pillow has been jailed for five years.
Peter Koeman, 49, was sentenced at Manukau District Court this morning after being stopped by Customs with up to $376,000 of the class-A drug at Auckland Airport in January.
He pleaded guilty to an importation charge shortly afterwards.
The heavily-bearded man spent the last 12 years living in Thailand and agreed to act as a drug mule for a $10,000 fee.
The court heard he had turned down such offers in the past but had been drunk when he agreed to take part in the recent ill-fated deal.
He was flown to Brazil and then on to Bolivia where he picked up the drugs, which were in pellet form.
Koeman had trouble ingesting the cocaine and instead decided to sew the majority of it inside his travel pillow.
New Zealand Customs stopped him and found a total of 939 grams both inside him and the pillow, which the Crown said would have been sold for more than $300 a gram.
A charge of possession of cocaine for supply was withdrawn this morning.
In a pre-sentence interview, Koeman admitted he had some minor drug convictions from when he lived in Holland and it had been a "stupid decision" to act as a drug courier.
Judge Patrick Treston took a starting point of 11 years imprisonment but gave Koeman discounts for an early guilty plea and the contents of a "confidential document" provided to the court by his lawyer.
Judge Treston jailed him for five years and said he would be deported back to Holland on completion of the sentence.
A 33-year-old man, who was also charged with importing and possession of cocaine after the incident, will appear in Manukau District Court this afternoon.