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Jury still out in horse-head cocaine trial

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/06/2017 Ben Leahy

The cocaine was hidden in a horse head. © NZ Police The cocaine was hidden in a horse head. A jury is set to enter its second day of deliberations into whether two men are guilty of trafficking $14 million worth of cocaine inside a jewel-encrusted horse head statue.

American Ronald Cook Senior, 56, and 44-year-old Augustin Suarez-Juarez of Mexico were arrested last July after Customs made its largest-ever interception of cocaine, finding 35 kilograms of the A-Class drug inside the glittering sculpture arriving by plane.

The pair have been on trial in Auckland charged with possessing and supplying cocaine.

The jury will reconvene on Tuesday after Justice Sarah Katz earlier told them the heart of the case rested on whether the men knew the statue contained Class A drugs.

During the trial, Crown prosecutor David Stevens said the men made two trips to New Zealand in May and June 2016, first to move the cocaine and then to supply it.

Both accused said they thought the horse head statue contained laundered cash, not drugs.

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