Vatuvei, 35, entered the guilty plea in a Manukau courtroom on Wednesday alongside his lawyer before he was handed bail with strict curfew restrictions.
In 2019 following a joint investigation by Counties Manukau police and Customs into methamphetamine supply the former Warriors winger was one of four people arrested in 2019 and was charged with importing, possessing and supplying methamphetamine in September, October and November that year, the NZ Herald reported.
Under New Zealand laws the maximum sentence for the charge is life in prison.
Manu Vatuvei has pled guilty to the charge of importing methamphetamine. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Vatuvei was arrested alongside his brother Lopini Mafi, 49 for the importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine.
Police have since dropped the possession and supply charge for the brothers.
Sentencing for Vatuvei and Mafi will take place in December with Judge Jonathan Moses saying granting bail was no indication of the sentence he would impose.
Vatuvei had kept his name suppressed from when he was charged until May this year when he revealed in an Instagram video that he had been charged and would be fighting the charges.
“In 2019 I was charged with importation, possession and supply of methamphetamine,” Vatuvei said.
“All these charges are accusations and I’ll be fighting my innocence for these charges.
instagram
“I know there will be a lot of questions that are wanting answers but I’ve been advised by my legal team that that’s all I can talk about.”
Vatuvei is a legend of New Zealand rugby league with 226 games for the Warriors between 2004 and 2017.
During his career he represented New Zealand 29 times and was involved in the country’s 2008 World Cup win as well as and two international appearances for Tonga.
The former NRL winger has found himself negatively in the press in the past when he was one of five Warriors players who was dropped to reserve grade after admitting to taking pills on a night out in Auckland.
In 2008 Vatuvei also appeared in a video promoting the Head Hunters gang to which he said didn’t know he would be featured in the video.

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