Trio deny ecstasy importation

Three foreign visitors have denied involvement in a 5kg drug importation intercepted at Christchurch International Airport three weeks ago.

The not guilty pleas to charges of importation of MDMA – commonly known as ecstasy – and possession of the drug for supply were put in at the Christchurch District Court today.

Two of the defendants appeared before a judge and the other entered the pleas before a court registrar.

The charges specify that the powdered drug was found in a Samsonite suitcase.

Vladimir Turovsky, a 32-year-old dive shop owner, and Vadim Shkolnitski, 35, a truck driver, are from Russia, and Ganna Manchenko, a 31-year-old woman employed as a cook, is from the Ukraine.

A Russian interpreter was in court for the appearance of two of them before Judge Gary MacAskill today.

The trio were remanded in custody for a Crown case review hearing on June 12, but defence counsel Steve Hembrow said Manchenko would also apply for release on electronically monitored bail at a hearing on May 15.

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