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US mother jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine in puffer jackets in New Zealand

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An American mother who tried to smuggle cocaine into New Zealand has been jailed for nearly seven years.

Jamie Hudson Mendez, 44, of Phoenix, Arizona, pleaded guilty in Christchurch District Court in July to importing about 2.5 kilograms of cocaine into New Zealand and possessing cocaine for supply.

Mendez appeared through audio-visual link before Judge Stephen ODriscoll in Christchurch District Court on Thursday and was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.

Mendez’s charges had a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.

READ MORE:
* ‘Sweet, gorgeous’ wife and mother admit they are trying to smuggle $ 875k cocaine into NZ
* American woman suspected of using puffer jackets to smuggle cocaine in Christchurch
* The woman allegedly hid 2.5kg of drugs in jackets at Christchurch Airport

In September last year, Mendez flew to New Zealand from Zimbabwe, via Ethiopia and Singapore.

She checked into a suitcase and carried a backpack as hand luggage.

Jamie Hudson Mendez was arrested at Christchurch Airport in September 2019 after attempting to smuggle 2.5 kilograms of cocaine into New Zealand.

Supplied

Jamie Hudson Mendez was arrested at Christchurch Airport in September 2019 after attempting to smuggle 2.5 kilograms of cocaine into New Zealand.

Her suitcase was searched after New Zealand customs officers noticed discrepancies on the X-ray display. Inside the suitcase were five puffer jackets containing 2.5kg of cocaine, valued at $ 875,000 on the street.

Text messages found on Mendezs phone showed that she was negotiating the payment for carrying the medication, she allegedly asked for $ 15,000 but she would never see any hundred percent of the money.

Mendez’s mother, Kathleen Hudson, told him earlier stuff that until a few years ago, her daughter had a seemingly normal life.

Jamie Hudson-Mendez on her wedding day in 1996 with her mother, Kathleen Hudson, to her left and her sisters to her right.

Supplied

Jamie Hudson-Mendez on her wedding day in 1996 with her mother, Kathleen Hudson, to her left and her sisters to her right.

She had an extraordinary childhood, married her high school girlfriend, worked as a caretaker, and had a son.

She was married for more than a decade before divorcing in 2012.

This latest offense was not the first time Mendez was involved in the dark underground of the transnational drug trade.

Jamie Hudson Mendez was a woman, mother, and caregiver before getting involved in smuggling illegal drugs across borders.

Supplied

Jamie Hudson Mendez was a woman, mother, and caregiver before getting involved in smuggling illegal drugs across borders.

In 2018, she was imprisoned in France when she arrived in Paris on a flight from South Africa carrying heroin in her luggage.

After spending 13 months in a French prison, she was released on June 17 last year and sent back to the US

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