Contraband - NZ Customs

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Customs in Court

Customs in Court

This issue of Contraband takes a look at two cases successfully prosecuted by Customs under the Customs and Excise Act 1996. The cases highlight the serious offending Customs tries to prevent.

Kionie Downing

In July 2014 Kionie Downing, a 19-year-old Canadian woman, imported a package into New Zealand from Canada via New Zealand Post Service Mail. The goods were declared as ‘Vitamins and Supplements’. The package was examined by a Customs Officer and found to contain 1963 grams of methamphetamine, a Class A controlled drug, worth approximately $2 million.

Customs Officers executed a search warrant at the Auckland hostel where Downing was staying and arrested her at the scene. Officers also found digital scales, drug paraphernalia, and over $4,000 cash amongst her possessions.

On 24 March 2015, Downing was sentenced in the Auckland District Court to nine years in prison for importing and possessing methamphetamine.

Peter John Wrigley

On 28 August 2014, Peter John Wrigley, a 54-year-old Wellington man, was questioned and searched by Customs officers at Auckland Airport on arrival from China. Further examination and forensic analysis of his electronic devices showed he had over 73,500 images of child sexual abuse.

Customs investigators executed a search warrant, taking more laptops, hard drives, a video camera and discs, as well as books on “child photography”, photos and A4 printouts. He was arrested after an interview, during which he admitted taking several objectionable images himself.

Wrigley was sentenced to six years and six months in jail for trading and possessing child sexual abuse images and indecent assault.