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Found: 51 Bars Tested Confirmed as Cocaine Valued at $43 Million

Found: 51 Bars Tested Confirmed as Cocaine Valued at $43 Million
Fiji Police Force operations with the Fiji Navy in the Lau group. Photo: Police Media Cell
July 31
13:41 2018

Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho reminded participants at the Fiji Narcotic Committee workshop that they could not afford to let their guards down.

His motivation to participants yesterday was to ensure that criminal elements do not infiltrate Fiji’s borders and expose Fijians to the vicious drug trade.

“As of this morning, I can confirm that 53 bars of cocaine have been found within Fiji’s border,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“Fifty one bars have been tested and confirmed to be cocaine, while the latest find in Savusavu and on an island in the Lau Group are yet to be tested and are being transported to Suva for analysis.

“I can also confirm that the 51 bars have an estimated street value of $43 million and that similar findings were made in Tonga where 58 bars in total were found on two of their islands.

“They have been confirmed to be the same quality of cocaine found here in Fiji.

“It may seem like a never ending battle because on one hand we are looking at avenues of curbing the ‘traditional’ drug trade, with reference to the cultivation and trade of marijuana, but on the other hand there has been a surge in the illicit use of hard drugs such as methamphetamine.

“If we fail to take this meeting seriously, then we will be opening up the doors for syndicates to use Fiji as a playground for their illegal trade and the blame will lie solely on us because we failed to work together to strengthen enforcement,” he said.

Fiji Police Force operations with the Fiji Navy in the Lau group. Photo: Police Media Cell

Fiji Police Force operations with the Fiji Navy in the Lau group. Photo: Police Media Cell

The Commissioner of Police said it was their duty to ensure that drugs did not infiltrate Fiji.

“The Fijian public is relying on us to keep these harmful drugs away from entering our shores and more importantly infiltrating our communities,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“The cycle of drugs is extremely vicious and we need to uphold our calling to the life of service and protect our communities from harm.

“We are collectively responsible for policing the illicit drug trade. Whether it is border security, the monitoring of our Exclusive Economic Zone, to the gathering and sharing of intelligence and investigations.

“If we fail to identify the enforcement gaps, more discoveries will be made and the perception the public will have on our respective institutions is whether we are doing enough to keep these drugs from entering our borders.

“News headlines such as ‘cocaine worth millions found’ were non-existent in Fiji or the Pacific region over a decade ago, but now it’s becoming more frequent and this has definitely put a spotlight on the work of law enforcement agencies.”

Fiji Police Force operations with the Fiji Navy in the Lau group. Photo: Police Media Cell

Fiji Police Force operations with the Fiji Navy in the Lau group. Photo: Police Media Cell

Brigadier-General Qiliho said the Pacific region was vulnerable to transnational organised crimes such as illicit trafficking of drugs, human trafficking, money laundering and the trafficking of natural resources.

He revealed that from January to June this year, more than 10 kilogram of methamphetamine had been seized in Fiji.

“The seizures may seem small compared to the seizures of cocaine and marijuana, but it however does not give it less prominence,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“Because the statistics speak for themselves as there have been numerous seizures, which equates to more people indulging in this illicit activity.

“The threat assessment for the Pacific based on the UNODC report; has found that Pacific island countries, including Fiji, are increasingly targeted by drug trafficking groups as transit and destination for a variety of drugs including synthetic drugs, in particular methamphetamine.”

There were 30 participants representing their respective defence agencies at the Fiji Narcotic Committee workshop.

Edited by Percy Kean.

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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