A mystery meeting on a Brazilian beach has led to a young mum of two being locked up in a Kiwi prison for half a decade, as Mexican and South American cartels try and flood this country with top-shelf cocaine.
Pamela Taina Nascimento was caught attempting to smuggle cocaine into New Zealand in September.
The 23-year-old had travelled to Auckland from Sao Paulo in Brazil, via Buenos Aires. She had swallowed about 40 pellets of cocaine while 44 smaller pellets were located on her – they added up to nearly 1kg with an 85 per cent purity.
She had met a mystery man on the Brazilian beach, who offered her R$12,000 Brazilian reals, which when converted is a little more than $4500 New Zealand dollars, a court heard yesterday.
The cocaine pellets were worth more than $310,000 on New Zealand streets.
Growing up in a town in the southeast of South America’s biggest country, Nascimento was raised by her grandparents but had also lost her eldest brother in a shooting two years ago.
She had carried out a drug run before – to Spain – which paid her a similar amount. She used it to help pay for bills and raise her two young children, aged 5 and 4.