13 Feb 2013

Man jailed for smuggling drugs in teddy bear

9:23 pm on 13 February 2013

An Auckland student has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for smuggling methamphetamine ingredients, some of which were hidden inside a teddy bear.

Zecheng Li, 19, has pleaded guilty to 18 charges of importing a cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the illegal drug methamphetamine, also known as "P".

A teddy bear stuffed full of the cold medicine tablets was one ploy Zecheng Li used to smuggle pseudoephedrine from China, Greece, and Hong Kong.

Customs investigations manager Mark Day says officers also found drugs inside a bicycle frame and concealed in the packaging of some parcels.

He says altogether, officers found more than 16kg of pseudoephedrine, enough to make up to $11 million worth of methamphetamine.

A Manukau District Court judge sentenced Li to six years and seven months in prison.

Another man, Jayden Wenski, has already been sentenced to three years' jail.

Outside court, Mr Day said smugglers are recruiting high school and tertiary students to receive packages, often targeting students at English language schools.

He said it is disturbing that such young people are being preyed upon and pressured with money or intimidation.