Man denies diving for cocaine on ship docked in Dunedin

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Carlos Davide Ferreira-Sampaio, 45, of Portugal, and Matthew Luke Hodder, 31, of Melbourne, Australia, are jointly charged with conspiring to import cocaine into New Zealand.

Hamish McNeilly / Stuff

Carlos Davide Ferreira-Sampaio, 45, of Portugal, and Matthew Luke Hodder, 31, of Melbourne, Australia, are jointly charged with conspiring to import cocaine into New Zealand.

One of two men accused of diving for cocaine from a ship docked in Dunedin has denied conspiring to import the Class A drug.

Carlos Davide Ferreira-Sampaio, 45, of Portugal, and Matthew Luke Hodder, 31, of Melbourne, Australia, each face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The pair, who are jointly charged with conspiracy to import a class A drugappeared on Friday via audiovisual link before Judge Emma Smith in Dunedin District Court.

They were arrested after allegedly smuggling cocaine into New Zealand, via a ship docked in Port Otago.

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Ferreria-Sampaio, through his attorney, pleaded not guilty and elected a jury trial.

Hodder, who did not have a lawyer in court, indicated he was unable to enter a plea.

The arrests followed an investigation into an international crime syndicate allegedly involved in drug trafficking to New Zealand.

It is understood that the cocaine was in a welded compartment on the hull of a ship.

Hodder was taken into custody to reappear on November 17, while Ferreria-Sampaio was remanded in custody to reappear on January 20.

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