Attempt to smuggle $20 million of meth leads to jail

Attempt to smuggle $20 million of meth leads to jail
Photo credit: NZ Customs / supplied

A Czech national has been busted, after trying to smuggle $20 million of meth into New Zealand, by using false linings in suitcases.

Jiri Kupec, 42, was sentenced to 17 years' jail in Manukau District Court on Tuesday for trying to smuggle in 20kg of methamphetamine, becoming the largest-ever meth seizure at a New Zealand airport.

He had arrived on a flight from Bangkok with his 69-year-old mother last May, with meth hidden in the linings of both their suitcases.

His mother was released without charge, as she didn't know about the drugs, but was deported, a Customs spokesperson said.

One of the suitcases.
One of the suitcases. Photo credit: NZ Customs / supplied

"Transnational syndicates don't care about the harm this drug causes in our communities, nor do they care about the drug couriers who end up facing the consequences," Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said in a statement.

"This man admitted he knew he was doing something illegal and will now pay the price."

Last year was Customs' best-ever for meth seizures, totalling more than 400kg of methamphetamine - a significant increase on previous years.

Newshub.