Drugs ‘passed’ from Nadi airport


New Zealand Customs Services has detected few cases where parcels passed from Nadi International Airport contained drugs.

Pacific Security for New Zealand Customs Services policy analyst Andrew Walker said there was a recent case when a couple had arrived from Nadi when they were picked up at Auckland airport with a brown bag of kava.

He said inside the brown bag was Pseudoephedrine drugs.

“This couple had been given the package by a stranger in Fiji to carry through,” Mr Walker said

“It was interesting because they were quite unaware of what they were carrying. It was big surprise for them.”

With countries tightening their border security, drug trafficking, he said had also become more creative as they tried to smuggle drugs across borders.

“In New Zealand, he said people had tried to smuggle drugs from Fiji by hiding them in packages of kava.

“In Samoa, attempts were made to conceal drugs by hiding them in tins of tomatoes.

“In Papua New Guinea, drugs destined for the country were hidden in machines.”

Mr Walker said tablets of cocaine had also washed up on beaches in Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, French Polynesia and Marshall Islands.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said placing a value on illicit markets was difficult.

But he said the estimates generated by specialist organisations showed that the drugs trade was greater in value than most other criminal commodities.

While drug detection statistics in the Pacific were on the rise, Mr Tikolevu said the true level of criminal activity and subsequent threats in the region could not be definitively determined.

However, he said there was evidence that the region was being used for the production, storage and transhipment of illicit drugs.



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