A CHIEF in Navosa is under scrutiny after a drug raid yesterday uncovered that village youths had sought his permission in the traditional way to cultivate marijuana.
The raid resulted in the uprooting of 290 mature marijuana plants.
Police placed the estimated street value of the haul at $200,000. The plants were uprooted from three farms in the Nasikawa district.
A 10-member police team, led by Keiyasi Police Station officer Inspector Uraia Davu, has been combing the region over the past five days and The Fiji Times caught up with the team yesterday.
According to Insp Davu, police were told that a chief in the area had accepted a tabua presented by youths in his village asking approval to plant marijuana.
He said he was disappointed that despite the numerous awareness programs, villagers in the highlands were still cultivating the drug.
"These three farms were located in the border of Navosa and Serua," said Insp Davu.
"We have also received reports from the villagers that some youths presented a tabua to their chief to allow them to plant marijuana in the district.
"We will be going back to the village on Monday to investigate this matter further," he said. Insp Davu warned the public that police had launched Operation Cavutia and the search for farms, cultivators and users would continue.
"We will come down hard on all perpetrators and anyone found guilty involved in this illegal operation will face the full brunt of the law," he said.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the fight against drug cultivation was continuing and police officers in various areas had been alerted.
Insp Sokomuri reiterated that anyone found involved in this illegal operation would be taken to task.