NATION

Resolve to Combat Drug Woes Impresses Agency

United States Drug Enforce­ment Agency (USDEA) has commended Police Com­missioner Sitiveni Qiliho for en­suring that Fiji combats clandes­tine labs. When responding to the Fiji Sun queries, US Drug Enforcement Administration,
25 Sep 2018 11:00
Resolve to Combat Drug Woes Impresses Agency
Participants of the clandestine labs Course after their two-weeks of training. Photo: Fiji Police Force

United States Drug Enforce­ment Agency (USDEA) has commended Police Com­missioner Sitiveni Qiliho for en­suring that Fiji combats clandes­tine labs.

When responding to the Fiji Sun queries, US Drug Enforcement Administration, country attaché Kevin Merkel said the DEA was committed to assisting Fiji in the fight against methamphetamine and any other drug crisis that arose in the future.

The USDEA has conducted a two-week course where Police and customs officers were able to learn about the evolving drug trade, pre­cursor training and on clandestine labs. The course ended last week.

“We have a shared interest in com­bating this serious problem, which knows no geographic boundaries,” Mr Merkel said.

“We are happy to have the chance to share our experiences.

“The training this week is the lat­est example of our commitment in this regard.

“It is part of our efforts to work with Fiji to address this problem and find shared solutions. We encourage and support Commis­sioner Qiliho, who takes the issue seriously and is energised to im­plementing effective measures that suit Fiji’s unique circumstances.

“We wouldn’t want to tell Fiji how it should structure its efforts bu­reaucratically: we appreciate Fiji’s resolve and are happy to help in whatever way we can.”

Mr Merkel said Fiji wasn’t alone in the war on drugs.

The two-week training provides an opportunity to exchange best practices, which they have learned in the United States through long, painful experience.

“We are discussing, from a law-enforcement perspective, the meth­ods of crime syndicates across the globe, in particular how criminals take advantage of the local com­munity and profit from their addic­tion,” Mr Merkel said.

“We are sharing our experiences in investigating drug crimes, iden­tifying and handling evidence, building a case and – most of all – keeping people safe, including law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk.

“The things Police officers across the globe see are not for the faint of heart, which is why law enforce­ment officers form lasting bonds quickly. Fiji is no different.”

Mr Merkel said the US Embassy Regional Security Office was com­mitted to engaging in direct train­ing co-ordination with the Police Commissioner based on the spe­cific needs of the Fiji Police Force.

“The Drug Enforcement Adminis­tration (DEA) training is the result of close collaboration between the Police Commissioner and the US Regional Security Office,” he said.

“The DEA has been extremely im­pressed with the Fiji Police, Cus­toms and Immigration Officers at­tention during the course and their motivation to increase their capac­ity is clearly evident.

“The DEA and Embassy Regional Security Office are excited about the prospects of building on this training for future law enforce­ment initiatives and investigative co-operation.”

There were 34 Police officers and three customs officers participat­ing in the two-week course.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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