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Mexican man denies importing cocaine

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/07/2016

A Christchurch bartender denies he imported 35 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a large diamante-encrusted horse head statue from his home country of Mexico.

Gonzalo Rivera-Pavon and two others were arrested earlier this month following New Zealand's biggest cocaine seizure.

The 29-year-old was arrested in a raid in Christchurch, while his alleged co-offenders were arrested at Auckland International Airport.

All three are charged with possessing and importing a class A drug, of which the latter carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Rivera-Pavon pleaded not guilty to both charges when he appeared briefly in Christchurch District Court on Monday.

His interim name suppression order lapsed, but separate orders remain in place for the two others - a 44-year-old from Mexico and a 56-year-old American.

All three are due to appear in Manukau District Court on July 27.

Police allege the drugs were brought into the country in May.

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