Crime & Court

$539m Kadavu Drug Bust

A total of 29,977 plants have been seized by the Fiji Police Force from 27 commercially set up marijuana farms in the interiors of Kadavu.
28 Sep 2021 12:59
$539m Kadavu Drug Bust
Police Officers carrying the uprooted marijuana plants in Kadavu.

A major drug bust has resulted in the seizure of marijuana plants found in Kadavu worth $539,586,000.

A total of 29,977 plants have been seized by the Fiji Police Force from 27 commercially set up marijuana farms in the interiors of Kadavu.

Out of it, 7.1 tonnes of marijuana found in the district of Yale, Kadavu, has been destroyed by the Police Force following an order granted by the Court. The Police Force were given approval to destroy the plants by the court considering the tonnage and distance to bring it down.

The Police team currently on duty in Kadavu found ants covered with fishing nets and coconut leaves to cover the whole farm in order to counter their drone, but were found after tracking.

Booby traps were placed along the track to the farm and covered with grass to disguise.

Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said these farms were the biggest cluster of farms that was identified by the Fiji Police Force.

Drone photo of one of the 27 farms in Kadavu.

Drone photo of one of the 27 farms in Kadavu.

He said the farms were commercially set up as the information gathered was that the farms were being funded by the people from Viti Levu.

“It is being done in a very professional manner,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“It is humanly impossible for the team to uproot the large amount of plants and bring the evidence of plants to Suva.

“We have been taking photos with our drones and man on the ground.

“The officers have been sleeping in the bushes to try and reach as many farms as possible.

“We have taken an analyst there to weigh the plants, test and document all the information gathered.

“We had sought for the Court’s approval to destroy the farms there instead of bringing it over to the stations here.”

A marijuana plant that was found planted in a cabbage farm.

A marijuana plant that was found planted in a cabbage farm.

Exploring ways to curb illegal cultivation

He added that another avenue being explored to curb the illegal cultivation was through the use of chemicals.

“This came about following a study visit in 2019 to New Zealand where a senior officer was able to witness the New Zealand Police’s Cannabis eradication programme where they use aerial resources to spray and destroy farms,” he said.

“The Fiji Police has put forward a proposal and we are now waiting for the Ministry of Environment’s feedback and to conduct their necessary assessment on the use of chemicals as we are eager to explore this option as soon as possible to curb the cultivation of drugs.”

Brigadier-General Qiliho added that Police were trying to establish where such large farms were also destined for the international market and possibly be funded by them as well.

Uprooted marijuana plants.

Uprooted marijuana plants.

At this stage, Brigadier-General Qiliho said the Force was exploring the possibility of local helicopter companies who could train the officers in identification of landing zones for insertion and extraction of manpower and the ability of helicopters to carry underslung loads if the plants were to be taken out of the area.

Minister for Defence and National Security and Policing, Inia Seruiratu said the fight against drugs would continue.

“We know the challenges we face in Fiji with the current environment, but we have made that commitment and we want our communities to be free from the influence and cultivation of drugs,” he said.

“This has long term security implications for our people and for the country and that is why we will be relentless in our efforts.”

Mr Seruiratu praised the Commissioner of Police and his team for their efforts and their sacrifices in curbing this issue.

He said the great work undertaken by the Commissioner of Police and his team was unprecedented.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper