Aussie jailed in NZ over cocaine haul

By jholmes800 · Dec 5, 2006 ·
  1. jholmes800
    An Australian man who tried to take $NZ300,000 ($A262,790) worth of liquid cocaine, which his brother had brought into New Zealand from Chile, to Australia has been jailed for seven years.
    Sergio Ivan Seguel, 43, a gardener from Sydney, had pleaded guilty to charges of importing cocaine and attempting to export it to Australia in February.
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    He received the same sentence in the High Court in Auckland Tuesday as his brother Dario Alexander Seguel, 41, who had been sentenced in August.
    The pair were arrested at Auckland International Airport on February 15 after being found with 546g of liquid cocaine of 23 per cent purity.
    Dario Seguel had flown from Australia to Chile to buy the cocaine and was met on his way back at Auckland airport by Sergio, who had flown into New Zealand on February 11.
    After meeting they went to a duty-free store to buy facial cream and lotion bottles identical to those which the liquified cocaine had been brought into the country and swapped labels before Dario handed the bottles to Sergio, who was to take the cocaine into Australia. Instead, they were arrested by police.
    Sergio Seguel's counsel, John Corby, said his client was less culpable than his brother, who was the originator of the offending.
    Corby said that though Seguel was a willing partner in the attempt to bring the drugs into Australia, it was his brother who was the brains behind the offending.
    He said Seguel had shown remorse and was getting over his cocaine addiction in prison.
    Crown Prosecutor Alysha McClintock said Seguel was not merely a courier. She said he was taking part fully in an operation which had used New Zealand as an entrepot and was set to profit equally from it.
    As he, like his brother, had also pleaded guilty and had received glowing reports from prison about his rehabilitation, remorse and cooperation, McClintock said he should receive the same seven year jail sentence.
    Justice Patrick Keane agreed with McClintock, saying it would be artificial to distinguish between the brothers' offending.
    He said Seguel had taken up his brother's suggestion to be involved, partly due to excitement and risk involved in the offending in a scheme which had attempted to use New Zealand's good relationship with Australia to their criminal advantage.
    Seguel was jailed for seven years on the importing charge and five years for exporting, the sentences to be served concurrently.
    A third alleged offender, Maria Christia, Dario Seguel's girlfriend at the time of the offence, has denied the charges and is set to go to trial in July next year.

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