15 Feb 2012

US national on cocaine charge

2:03 pm on 15 February 2012

A United States national has been charged with importation of a class A controlled drug after almost $1 million worth of cocaine was found suspended in alcohol in his luggage.

The Customs Service arrested Peter Rhee, 29, at Auckland international airport last week after a flight from Los Angeles.

Officers who searched his luggage found inconsistencies in two bottles of alcohol.

When tested, a substance in the bottles turned out to be cocaine with an estimated value of $800,000 - $1 million.

Mr Rhee appeared in Manukau District Court on 7 February and will appear again on 28 February.

Customs says the maximum term for importation and possession for supply of a class A drug is life imprisonment.