drug mule caught smuggling 4kg of methamphetamine into London
was working for an organised crime syndicate in New Zealand,
police in Britain say.
Paul Da'Silva, 57, was last week sentenced to five years in
prison after pleading guilty to smuggling the Class A drug
through Heathrow Airport in August.
The North Shore man flew from Auckland to Dubai, where he
spent two days, before his arrest by UK Border Agency
British authorities have confirmed Da'Silva is not connected
to a crime syndicate in London.
"We believe he was linked to a group based in New Zealand and
have passed intelligence to our law enforcement colleagues
there," said a spokesman for the UK Border Agency.
The case is unusual because New Zealand-based crime
syndicates usually focus on trafficking drugs into the
country, not in reverse.
Da'Silva spent two days in Dubai, which is a known transit
point for organised crime groups in neighbouring Iran to send
methamphetamine and other narcotics around the globe.
He was also booked to spend two days in Dubai on his flight
home to New Zealand, raising the possibility of an attempt to
bring more P into the country where the street price is much
higher than in the United Kingdom.
The 4kg he was caught with was estimated by the Border Agency
to have a street value of $1.5 million. The same amount is
worth $4 million in New Zealand.
Da'Silva was arrested after a white powder was discovered
leaking from the broken handle of one of his bags.
Subsequent x-rays of his luggage revealed the drug inside
various electronic items, including a Sony PlayStation and a
Da'Silva, discharged as a bankrupt in November last year, was
supposed to enjoy a week at a 5-star luxury resort in Fiji on
his return from New Zealand. Instead, he will serve five
years and then be deported.
Dubai has also featured in a recent drug case in Auckland.
Polish man Adam Tyniec flew to Auckland International Airport
on an Emirates flight from Dubai in April last year.
Nearly 2kg of P was found when his suitcase was x-rayed.
Tyniec, 50, later told authorities he refused the advances of
the Iranian syndicate on a number of occasions and was
"stupid" for yielding.
A covert investigation later arrested Yashar Ghasemi, a
33-year-old who came to New Zealand as a refugee, after he
took control of the package.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading
guilty to possession for supply, as well as supplying
Bought for as little as $5000 in Iran, 1kg of methamphetamine
can be sold in ounce bags (28.5g) for nearly $500,000 at
wholesale prices in New Zealand.
A kilogram of P is worth $1 million at street level.
Cash can be moved around the world through an Islamic money
transfer scheme, hawala, which police say makes it virtually
impossible to trace money laundering.
- Jared Savage, New Zealand Herald