Jamie Hudson Mendez, 44, was jailed for six years, nine months in Christchurch District Court after being caught with 2.5kg of very pure cocaine at Christchurch Airport. Photo / Kurt Bayer
A cocaine smuggler who claimed a powerful drug syndicate pressured her to do the job and sent her a video of her sister-in-law being murdered shopping for her pay and boasting of her knowledge of running a drug , revealed the new documents.
American drug mule Jamie Hudson Mendez, 44, was caught with 2.5kg of very pure cocaine worth nearly $ 1 million wearing puffer jackets in her luggage at Christchurch International Airport last September.
Mendez, who had already been jailed for heroin smuggling in France, came to New Zealand after “resting” across Africa for 12 days.
New documents released by the Herald show that Mendez bought five puffer jackets at a “flea-type shop” in Zimbabwe.
Mendez then bought her air ticket to Bolivia six days before leaving Ethiopia and passing through Singapore.
When she landed in Christchurch with a medium-sized checked suitcase and a backpack in hand luggage with her personal belongings, red flags were raised.
Her luggage had been x-rayed and Customs officers noted discrepancies on their screen.
And when they investigated further, they found that about 2.5kg of cocaine had been lined up inside the five jackets.
Mendez, from Phoenix, Arizona, was charged with importing Class A illegal drugs and last month in Christchurch District Court was jailed for six years and nine months.
Her lawyer claimed she had been threatened and coerced by a drug syndicate who sent her a video recording of the murder of a woman she believed was her sister-in-law.
But new documents reveal a self-assured Mendez demanding $ 15,000 for smuggling work.
In text messages received by authorities Mendez describes “her dissatisfaction with the amount I am being paid”.
“As far as you believe I may not have known much about these jobs, I have made several trips and been offered jobs, so I know the prices for most of the routes,” Mendez said boldly, alluding to her form preliminary to global medicine running
In May 2018, she arrived in Paris on a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa carrying more than 2 kg of heroin in her luggage in hand.
She was arrested and imprisoned in France for 13 months before being released on June 17 last year and transported back to the United States.
Following her arrest in Christchurch, a text message on her phone reveals her displeasure with the smuggling cut.
“When I go to Kiwi Land I would call you,” she wrote.
“I want to be paid $ 15k. I’ll not accept anything less than that. Although it ‘s ridiculously low, I know you’re going to do something good for yourself as a middle man. Tell anyone you’re going to. come with me first. “
She then boasted if there was any delay in leaving the country, perhaps with the help of the US Embassy.
“I am an American, they will take me home.”
When convicted last month, Chris White, NZ Customs prosecutor, said that although there was no evidence that she ever received money for her smuggling, it was probably only because she was caught at the border.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said her previous conviction in France was an aggravating feature of the case.
He told Mendez that two sentences in two countries involving the importation of medicines would now mean that “every law enforcement agency in the world will now have you on their radars”.
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