A MAN charged and produced in the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday for importation of the hard drug known as "ice" says he fears for his life.
Shalendra Narayan, 37, is charged with one count of importation of an illicit drug, namely methamphetamine, worth around $350,000 which he allegedly received concealed in chocolate cookies sent from the US.
In court, divisional prosecution officer Mohammed Yunus said the offence was an indictable one that the High Court should hear as the penalty was a $1million fine or life imprisonment. He said there was presumption of bail which the prosecution objected to because there were other accused persons to be charged and the investigation was ongoing.
Mr Yunus said Mr Narayan had told the police in his caution interview that he was in danger from other accomplices.
The court proceedings were then translated in Hindi and explained to Mr Narayan.
He said he wanted bail because he wanted to spend time with his family.
Mr Narayan looked confused in court when he explained that he would be safe at home.
Mr Yunus submitted that the accused be remanded for seven days and on the next court date the case be transferred to the High Court.
Mr Narayan will be brought to court next Wednesday.
According to police and Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority, they had been conducting a joint operation since April this year.
In a statement issued by FRCA, the cookies were discovered on Sunday, June 9, and were sent from abroad.
The cookies tested positive for methamphetamine and the 226.3 grams of the drugs discovered had an estimated street value of $350,000.
The cookies were packed in boxes but they were sent to two local addresses.
"The incident shows how creative our criminals are becoming. But it is worrying that our locals are continuing to be involved in illicit drug smuggling cases," FRCA chief executive officer, Jitoko Tikolevu said.
"The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority will continue to work harder to protect our borders and more importantly Fijians from the infiltration of prohibited items such as illicit drugs."