Drug mule was on the run

Laura Elizabeth CilliersThe drug mule who yesterday admitted hiding heroin inside her body and smuggling it into New Zealand was reportedly on the run from South African police who wanted her on drugs charges.

Laura Elizabeth Cilliers, 32, flew 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.

At Christchurch District Court yesterday, Cilliers pleaded guilty to a charge of importing the class A drug.

She has been remanded in custody for sentencing next month.

Now, it has been revealed that the bar worker was arrested on March 25 for possession of marijuana on a farm in Middelburg - a large farming and industrial town in the South African province of Mpumalanga.

Middelburg police spokesman, Captain Khanyisile Tshwane told South Africa news outlet Rapport that Cilliers and two other people were arrested and appeared in a magistrates court the following day.

She later skipped bail and a warrant had been issued for her arrest, it was reported.

The case against the other two suspects has since been withdrawn, Captain Tshwane told Rapport.

A South African Consulate representative was at court for her appearance in Christchurch yesterday.

Judge David Saunders told Cilliers, who appeared via video-link, that the consulate would want to talk to her before she is sentenced.

It is not clear whether she would be sent home to face drugs charges once she had been sentenced in New Zealand.

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