24 Jun 2014

Evidence from Argentina in drug case

12:24 pm on 24 June 2014

The High Court in Auckland has heard evidence from police in Argentina in the case of man charged with organising a cocaine importation that cost the life of his mother-in-law.

Peter Leaitua.

Peter Leaitua. Photo: FACEBOOK

Peter Leaitua has denied a charge of importing the Class A drugs into New Zealand in 2011.

His mother-in-law Sorlinda Aristizabal-Vega died shortly after he dropped her at Auckland Hospital.

A post-mortem found that she had been carrying at least 24 packages of cocaine totalling more than half a kilogram. Some had burst in her stomach.

She had arrived from Buenos Aires the day before with Peter Leaitua and her daughter.

On Tuesday morning the High Court in Auckland heard from two Argentinian police officers - Sergeants Ariel Dominguez and Victor Quinteros - by audio-visual link from Buenos Aires.

Sergeant Dominguez said he listened in on a phone call between a Colombian man and a second man with a foreign accent as they set up a meeting.

Sergeant Quinteros said he went to watch the meeting take place and another officer took photos.

The Crown said one of the men is Mr Leaitua and the purpose of the meeting was to talk drugs.