New Zealand Warriors legend Manu Vatuvei will spend the next three years and seven months behind bars after being found guilty for his involvement in a methamphetamine importation ring.

While Vatuvei was found guilty in Manakau District Court in Auckland's south on Wednesday morning, the former back's brother, Lopini Mafi, was sentenced for seven years and two months for his role in the same syndicate.

According to reports from Stuff NZthe brothers were charged with importing 2kgs of the Class A substance via a contact in Africa.

While the package was intercepted and altered ahead of arrival at Vatuvei and Mafi's shared address in Papatoetoe, footage obtained via the latter's mobile phone was said to have played a leading role in the pair's prosecution.

Appearing before Judge Jonathan Moses on Wednesday, Vatuvei was chided for contributing to the narcotics epidemic in New Zealand.

“Your fall from grace is a punishment in itself,” Judge Moses said.

Still, Moses offered that a path towards redemption was still available to the dual international.

“Your final legacy in the community does not need to be defined from what happened today.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Manu Vatuvei of the Warriors looks dejected following the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park on April 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Despite previously pleading guilty to the importation crime, Vatuvei's lawyer, Vivienne Feyen, claimed that the disintegration of her client's marriage and long injury history had played a role in the 226-game Warrior's involvement.

Vatuvei's staunch loyalty to Mafi and abuse sustained as a child were also submitted as defence.

Each of these factors are said to have played a role in reducing what could have been a heftier sentence.

Vatuivei last laced the boots as a professional rugby league player in 2018 with Super League outfit Salford Red Devils.