Peter Gardner, a 26-year-old Kiwi man, could be facing the death penalty in China, allegedly for trying to bring in over 30 kilograms of methamphetamine. However in Gardner’s case, he was no accidental drug mule. He knew he was bringing something into China. But because he was floored in debt to a certain gang, he accepted the job only to have them spare his life. Unfortunately, his life is now on the line in China.
The young lad admitted to his parents Russell Gardner and Sandy Cornelius that he owes money. Lots of it. His father said the young Gardner even asked his parents for a $30,000 loan to settle some debts. But it wasn’t enough.
Peter’s creditors threatened him. “He said, ‘I was shot at,'” Cornelius said.
So to spare his life from their angst, Gardner agreed to deliver items. He told the Chinese courts this wasn’t the first time he had done so. He had acted as a channel in September, carrying body-enhancing peptides into Australia sourced from China.
Perhaps emboldened by the successful handover, Gardner again made a trip to China in November. This time he got handcuffed. Caught in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, he said he didn’t know he was carrying 30 kg of methamphetamine. The haul has a rough Australian street value of $18 million, according to Fairfax. In New Zealand, it could fetch $30 million, MediaWorks TV reports.
Craig Tuck, Gardner’s New Zealand-based lawyer, described it as a classic “blind mule” case. He said there’s strong evidence Gardner had been placed “under the hammer” and was pressured to do the drug run task.
“Pete was simply used,” mother Sandy said.
“He didn’t have knowledge of what was in those black Adidas sports bags, nor did he intend to smuggle 30 kilograms of methamphetamine,” MediaWorks TV says.
Gardner’s parents, along with New Zealand, are doing everything they can to fight for the young Kiwi man. “No one really deserves to die like that. No one deserves to be executed,” the older Gardner told TV3’s 3D program.