Wanganui Chronicle on November 16, 2011 released the following:
“A New Zealand man being sought by South American police in connection with a major Buenos Aires drug syndicate is originally from Wanganui.
Police were told Peter Leaitua, 40, was the son-in-law of a Colombian woman who died in Auckland in September after a condom full of cocaine exploded in her stomach. She had been recruited by the drug syndicate.
It was reported that Mr Leaitua had arrived at Auckland Airport from Argentina on September 6 on the same flight as his mother-in-law, Sorlinda Vega, his wife and two children.
Interpol issued a Red Notice for Mr Leaitua, saying he was a New Zealander who spoke Spanish and was wanted on drug charges in Argentina.
Two Wanganui men, who want to remain anonymous, said they remembered the Leaitua family when they lived in Wanganui.
“There are still relatives here. The Leaitua boys grew up here.”
Mr Leaitua used to play softball for Station United, they said.
“It was a long time ago now but we remember Peter and his brother when they were teenagers like us.”
A woman said as a 16-year-old she and her girlfriends remembered Peter and his friends.
“But not really in a good way. I was with my group of girlfriends and we were getting into my car to go home. Peter was with another group and he came and jumped up and down on the roof of my car and caved the roof in. He wasn’t great. He wrecked my car.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Liam Clinton from Interpol Wellington said police were not prepared to comment on specific details relating to the Red Notice in respect of Mr Leaitua.
“These are matters for the Argentine authorities.
“We will of course assist the Argentine authorities with any inquiries they may request through Interpol Wellington.”
Mr Clinton said an Interpol Red Notice was not an international arrest warrant.
“There is no such thing as an international arrest warrant.”
Police would not comment on whether they knew of Mr Leaitua’s whereabouts.
A Red Alert Notice to all 190 Interpol member countries means:
The subject of the Red Notice is wanted for serious criminal offending in the issuing country.
In New Zealand, police cannot arrest on the basis of a Red Notice.
There must be a provisional arrest warrant issued by a New Zealand Court, pursuant to a formal extradition request.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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