Accused: No idea suitcase held drugs

7:29 pm on 21 July 2015

A 74-year-old Vietnam veteran from the United States told Customs he wasn't carrying luggage for anyone else, despite agreeing to deliver a suitcase to a woman he had never met.

Ralph Sherman Soles is giving evidence in his own defence in the High Court in Auckland where he denies a charge of importing 6.2 kg of methamphetamine.

He told the court he had no idea that the suitcase contained drugs hidden in the lining of the case.

The court also heard about a $2 million deal for the first time, mentioned in an email from a man named Lawrence Green and his supervisor.

It offered a $2 million deal that required Mr Soles to travel from his home in Florida to sign documents in Johannesberg and then fly on to Australia to pick up the cash.

Crown prosecutor Dale Dufty said it was a scam.

According to this email, Soles would receive half of the $2 million, while Mr Green and his people would take a share of the other 50 percent.

But Mr Soles today denied he had ever seen that email, despite Mr Dufty pointing to a text message from Mr Soles to Mr Green confirming he had received the email.

He said the purpose for travel was to meet Mr Green and help him invest in businesses in the US.

Mr Soles confirmed he never told Customs about this financial deal in the interview because he was never asked about it.

He also spoke about a suitcase he was asked to deliver to a woman he had never met and was told it would make her happy.

He also spoke about his curiosity getting the better of him and checking the suitcase to make sure there was nothing wrong in there.

Mr Soles said he took the clothes out and believed someone had tampered with the case by adding wooden boards to the shell.

He said he was doing nothing more than a favour for his friend and compared it to going down to the store and agreeing to buying two loaves of bread for a neighbour.

Mr Soles' lawyer Ross Burns has also talked about how his client got into this "muddle".

He told the jurors that everyone could look back on their life and see mistakes that they've made along the way.

But he also reminded them they weren't here to judge his client's wisdom but whether or not he knew he had drugs in his suitcase.

He said Mr Green was probably somewhere on the African continent roaring with laughter about Mr Soles.