A Mexican, a U.S. citizen and a horse head statue: Meet Operation Azteca

Agustín Suárez Juárez was charged with possession and attempted distribution of a class- A drug as reported by the New Zealand Herald
The diamante-encrusted horse head arrived by plane from Mexico - Photo: Jason Oxenham
24/08/2017
19:00
Newsroom
Auckland, New Zealand
The New Zealand Herald
-A +A

Mexican Agustín Suárez Juárez, alongside Ronald Wayne Cook Senior from the U.S., were sentenced, today,  to serve 19 and 17 years respectively after the jury from the High Court at Auckland, New Zealand, found them guilty of attempted distribution of class - A drug, cocaine, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.

Sam Hurley, court reporter for the daily reported that Suárez and Cook "were arrested in July last year after Customs found 35kg of cocaine inside the nearly 400kg diamante-encrusted statue, which arrived by plane from Mexico via Hong Kong."
 

The street value of the class - A drug is estimated up to USD$14 m.

New Zealand Customs "planted a tracking device in the statue"  and waited for Cook and Suárez to fly into the country to uncover the scheme. 

An intended buyer identified as Herny Anchondo disappeared while Cook and Suárez "were arrested trying to board a flight to Los Angeles."

David Stevens, Crown prosecutor, noted that New Zealand "is not a soft touch" for the introduction of this type of drugs and that both Suárez and Cook were "well resourced and well founded" possible being part of a "sophisticated, large-scale commercial drug operation."
Suárez and Cook will be immediately deported upon completion of their sentence.
This has been regarded as New Zealand's "largest ever cocaine bust", Operation Azteca.

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