A drug courier involved in importing up to $3.5 million worth of cocaine has been jailed for four years and seven months.
Thiago August De Oliviera, a 31-year-old factory hand, was today sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on a charge of possession for supply of the class A drug.
Defence counsel Lorraine Smith said De Oliviera borrowed money from the bank to do a skydiving course in Italy. When he returned to New Zealand he went into business as a tiler but it was unsuccessful and he got into debt.
He was given $1000 to fly to Auckland to pick up the cocaine and bring it back to Christchurch in two suitcases.
Judge Jane Farish said De Oliviera was one of five people involved in importing the cocaine, worth up to $3.5 million, into New Zealand on March 7.
He couriered the cocaine to Christchurch, but did not know he was under surveillance by the police. He was arrested after he dropped the drug off to a co-offender in a supermarket car park.
Judge Farish said De Oliviera was a first offender, but a pre-sentence report written by the probation service had recommended a home detention sentence, which was unrealistic and had given him false hope.
She said De Oliviera's poor judgment call came at a time when he was not thinking straight, and he thought it would solve his debt problem.
It was out of character, and there was no risk of him re-offending. He did not use drugs, and was a positive member of the community, she said.
De Oliviera was a permanent resident, and was genuinely remorseful for the harm he could have caused to the community.
She said a co-offender, Joao Batista Da Silveira, 39, was jailed for six years in Auckland.
The other three co-offenders pleaded not guilty and will be appearing in a case management hearing in Manukau next month.
- The Press
Should doctors and patients be friends on Facebook?Related story: Doctors struggle to maintain boundaries
• Newsroom 03-943 2827 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Classified Ads: 03-3778778 or email email@example.com
• Display and Online Ads: 03-3648285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• General inquiries: 03 379 0940
• Subscribe to The Press
• Deliveries, subscriptions, holiday stop/starts: 03 364 8464, or email: email@example.com
• No paper or holiday stop/starts: action online
• Buy a photo
• Newspaper subscribers - register for the digital edition
• Make press.co.nz your homepage
Read Press extras for Avenues, fashion, home design and weddings
Births, weddings, engagements
Death notices and in memoriam