A South African drug mule has today admitted hiding heroin
inside her body and smuggling it into New Zealand.
Laura Elizabeth Cilliers, 32, can be named today for the
first time after her name suppression was dropped at court.
She had flown from Singapore to Christchurch on June 15 when
she was caught with $1.2 million worth of the class A drug.
She was looking unwell and Customs officers found 99 heroin
pellets, totalling 1.2kg, concealed in her luggage, and on
and inside her body.
Surgery was required to remove one pellet due to fears it
could kill her.
The woman, a bar worker, was facing charges of possession of
heroin for supply and importing a class A drug.
But at Christchurch District Court today, the Crown dropped
the possession charge and she admitted the importation count.
Defence counsel Craig Ruane said the bulk of the police
summary of facts was accepted, but needed to be finalised.
Judge David Saunders agreed it should not yet be read out in
He remanded Cilliers in custody until August 20 for
sentencing and called for a pre-sentence report to be
prepared by probation.
Interim name suppression was originally requested by Customs
while it carried out further investigations.
But neither Mr Ruane or Crown today asked for it to be
continued and Judge Saunders allowed the order to lapse.
Earlier this year, Brazilian drug mule Joao Batista da
Silveira was busted by Customs at Auckland International
Airport trying to smuggle $3.5 million of cocaine into New
He confessed to police, saying he was expected to be paid
NZ$20,000 on his return to South America.
He was jailed for six years.
Three men he was supposed to meet in Christchurch have been
Thiago August de Oliveira, 31, charged with possession of
cocaine for supply, will be sentenced on July 30.
Marcos Andre Barbosa, 35, has admitted a charge of possession
for supply, but denied a charge of importing, while Josue Da
Conceicao, 36, is in custody facing charges of importing and
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ