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Drug probe begins

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, March 28, 2014

THE police have begun investigations into the discovery of a cocaine-laced kava shipment exported from China earlier this week.

The kava, packed in four separate packages, was seized by Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority officers at Nadi International Airport on Tuesday.

West police spokeswoman Naina Ragigia said the packages arrived on a Fiji Airways flight.

"We have begun investigations after receiving the report and the package from FRCA," she said.

"Right now, our investigations will begin with a visit to the shop where the package was addressed and from there we will carry on with our inquiries."

She said initial tests by FRCA revealed the kava was in fact laced with MDMA (methylamphetamine), better known as ecstasy.

"There were four different initial tests carried out, the first revealed the substance contained about 1 per cent of cocaine. But the three other tests confirmed the substance had MDMA. The fourth test confirmed the brown powder had about 11 per cent of MDMA in it."

FRCA CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said the kava was initially exported to China and was being re-exported back to a local kava dealer.

"Biosecurity Authority of Fiji officers had approached Customs officers for a second opinion as they were suspicious of the shipment due to discrepancies in the Biosecurity Phytosanitary Certificate, the texture and the smell of the kava," he said.

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