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$28.2m Drugs Found In Lau

$28.2m Drugs Found In Lau
July 06
10:00 2018

Illicit drugs, confirmed as cocaine and valued at $28.2 million,  have been found washed up on an island in the Lau Group.

They had similar packaging to the ones that were washed ashore in Tonga last month.

This was confirmed by the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho.

There were 31 bars of illicit drugs confirmed to be cocaine at the weight of 40.24 kilograms.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said they were still in the early stage of investigation and were working closely with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Navy Division and the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.

“But the initial finding is that it was a similar packaging with what was washed up in Tonga,” he said.

In a report released by Fiji Revenue and Customs Service last night, it states that FRCS received information that there were bars found on an Island in the Lau group believed to contain illicit drugs.

Upon receiving the information, Revenue and Customs, in collaboration with Fiji Police and the Navy, ensured the securing of the bars from the island.

FRCS chief executive officer Visvanath Das commended the efforts of the people of the island and those who ensured that Revenue and Customs was immediately alerted about the drugs found on the island.

“It is this kind of partnership we would like to establish with islands around Fiji and villagers along the coastline through our Coast Watch initiative which we launched in January this year,” Mr  Das said.

“Surveillance in coastal communities and seas are an ongoing challenge for customs, however, with such assistance and co-operation from islanders and villagers, we can aim to protect our borders from illicit trade.”

Mr Das also reiterated the importance of contacting customs first in relation to such cases.

“Report any illegal or suspicious activities to customs on 9925764/ 3243000 or our hotline 1326,” Mr Das said.

The drugs are now under Police custody and investigations continue.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail Online had reported on June 26, 2018 that Police in Tonga had seized 58 kilograms (130 pounds) of cocaine worth around US$13 million (FJ$27.39 million) amid growing international concern that the region is becoming a transit point for drugs.

Tongan Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell said the drugs were found this month on the outer island of Ha´apai and two Tongan men had been arrested.

He said there had been an ongoing Police operation since June 8, but did not specify when the drugs were seized.

“We will protect our borders and people with everything it takes,” Commissioner Caldwell said.

“The fight against illicit drugs is a challenge for the country and not just Police. We need to protect our youth from these criminals who are destroying their future by addicting them to drugs.” 

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