22 Nov 2013

Money-laundering 'mastermind' jailed

10:13 pm on 22 November 2013

A Lithuanian man involved in an international drug ring will spend six years and three months in a New Zealand prison for masterminding a money laundering scheme.

Rokas Karpavicius was found guilty in October this year of smuggling LSD inside the binding of a Harry Potter book and trying to get cash couriers to bring money out of New Zealand in their luggage.

He was found not guilty on two counts of importing the class B drug MDMA hidden inside granite statues.

During sentencing at the High Court in Auckland on Friday, Justice Lang said the criminal activity was sophisticated and involved at least five human mules.

The judge did not accept that Karpavicius was just acting as a commission agent, saying he was clearly the mastermind behind the sophisticated money-laundering operation and the main beneficiary of the proceeds.

He ordered Karpavicius to serve a minimum of three years of his sentence.

Karpavicius' lawyer Graeme Newell argued that his client should serve a far shorter jail term because he had been extradited from Latvia and was a long way from his home and family.

However, Justice Lang dismissed that, only giving Karpavicius six months off his sentence.