9 Dec 2019

Two Cook Islanders charged with tobacco smuggling into NZ

11:30 am on 9 December 2019

A Cook Islands woman, who works in Auckland, and her son have been charged with smuggling tens of thousands of dollars of tobacco into New Zealand from Rarotonga.

Exterior signage at the Manukau District Court

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Uheine Tirumaki Tunupopo, 52, entered no plea when she appeared at Manukau District Court on charges of defrauding Customs and making erroneous or defective entry.

She is to appear again on Wednesday next week.

Her son, Oswell Tunupopo, 34, denied three charges of defrauding Customs and two charges of making erroneous or defective entry.

He will go to a jury trial in February.

New Zealand Customs said the offending had spanned at least 18 months, and involved 80 kilograms of intercepted tobacco.

The Cook Islands News reports the evaded duties and GST alone are alleged to be $US74,152.