Locals trafficking drugs in and out of country

Locals have been involved in trafficking of drugs in and out of the country, says Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu.

And because of the vigilance on the part of Customs officers, he said drugs worth millions of dollars have been seized.

Mr Tikolevu was responding to questions posed by The Fiji Times regarding the recent installation of state-of-the-art X-ray machines at the Nadi International Airport.

He said Fiji was used as a transit point for Australia and New Zealand and locals were involved in moving drugs in and out of the country.

Last year, FRCA recorded over 40 cases involving narcotics and arms at Nadi airport.

“The value of drug seizures in recent years runs into the millions,” Mr Tikolevu said.

“There have been locals involved in attempts to smuggle drugs out of Fiji.

“We all know that Fiji is a targeted transit point to Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr Tikolevu said investigations carried out over a number of years revealed that criminals were getting creative in the methods used to transport illicit substances through the country.

“A local was trying to smuggle a kilogram of CONTACT NT in a 2kg package of kava bound for NZ.

“Our officers were suspicious of the person as he was trying to find a particular passenger who was travelling to New Zealand.

“Surveillance of the person led to arrests and the seizure of a suitcase full of CONTACT NT.

“That suitcase was brought in by two locals who came on an overseas flight.”

Mr Tikolevu said those involved in the illegal trade of substances also used relatives to transport drugs.

“We have also had incidences of passengers trying to smuggle drugs through false bottom handbags.

“Our officers, however, apprehended them because the handbag had visible screw holes but with missing screws, new stitches were visible and new threads were used.”


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