Thirteen people will be produced at the Nadi Magistrates Court today, charged in relation to the seizure of more than four ) tonnes of methamphetamine in Nadi.
The charges were laid following consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The accused persons face charges of unlawful importation of illicit drug, unlawful possession of illicit drug, possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime, relating to the importation and transportation of the illicit substances with the estimated street value of more than two billion dollars.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime, Mesake Waqa said through joint efforts with international law enforcement partners the Australian Federal Police and the Pacific Transnational Crime and Coordination Centre, it has been confirmed that Fiji was being used as a transit point and that the methamphetamine was destined for a foreign market. It is expected some of the spillover was for the local market.
He also confirmed that the illicit substances did arrive in Fiji in late December, and the exchange of the shipment of methamphetamine believed to be made outside of Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and the packages were delivered via a barge.
“The investigation revealed that the accused persons in taking delivery of the illicit substances stored it at a private warehouse.”
“It is alleged that more than 3 tonnes were transported to Legalega and later more than 1 ton to Maqalevu. Those involved in the delivery and subsequent packing of the drugs have also been charged.”
“The investigations are by no means over, as we will be working closely with our foreign partners and expect to make more arrests. Investigators are working with the Office of the DPP looking into the proceeds of crime.”
“Investigations will also be pursuing information of the involvement of other locals as we cannot rule out the involvement of other persons of interest. Investigations have also uncovered the involvement of a foreign national tied to a known syndicate, whom we are pursuing with the help of our international partners.”
“The Fiji Police Force acknowledges with sincere gratitude the sharing of information resulting in the quick arrest of three of the main accused persons in the Northern Division as they were allegedly trying to flee the country.”
“We also acknowledge those who voluntarily came forward with information of suspected illegal activities, resulting in other arrests.”
“At this juncture of the investigation and with the case to be presented before the courts today, the Fiji Police Force will not be making further comments on the ongoing investigation until major developments are made.”
ACP Waqa added that the Fiji Police Force is committed to ensuring those involved in the illicit drug trade are brought to justice and through the support of foreign partners, they are confident of disrupting drug syndicates and reiterate that no one is above the law.