Russian man admits drug importation

A Russian national arrested at Christchurch Airport 10 months ago has admitted importing 5kg of the class B drug Ecstasy into New Zealand.

Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave accepted the guilty plea from Vladimir Turovsky, a 33-year-old dive shop owner, 10 days before his jury trial was due to begin.

At the time of the arrest in April 2017, the drugs were said to have a street value of about $2 million.

The charge Turovsky originally faced specified that the powdered drug was found in a Samsonite suitcase.

A charge alleging possession of the drug for supply was dropped by the Crown when Turovsky pleaded guilty to the importing charge.

Sentencing was set for February 28, with Judge Neave calling for a pre-sentence report. Turovsky has been in custody since his arrest and remains in custody for the sentencing.

Two other people were also arrested and charged with importing and possession of the drug for supply. They have pleaded not guilty and their trial is scheduled for February 19.

Craig Ruane appeared as defence counsel; Mitchell McClenaghan appeared for the Crown.

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