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.
However, when she arrived in Auckland on September 28, Customs officers searched and questioned her.
She came clean and revealed the concealed drugs on her body and in her digestive system.
Appearing for sentencing yesterday, a distraught Nascimento was imprisoned for six years and three months.