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'Ice' age

Aqela Susu
Thursday, November 02, 2017

THE Fiji Police Force has discovered that methamphetamine, which is commonly known as "ice", is being manufactured locally.

And Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed that the use of hard drugs such as meth have been linked to some criminal activities in the country.

He said the manufacturing of such drugs was not only done in clandestine labs.

"We've come across apparatus that are being utilised to manufacture such. You don't need those big clandestine labs to do these things now," he said.

In 2004, the biggest methamphetamine producing lab was discovered at Laucala Beach in Nasinu by police, believed to be a $1 billion bust.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said the production of meth was now easier than it was in previous years.

"It's a much smaller thing. You can do this manufacturing out of the back seat of a car, it's that small," he said.

Asked if the drug could be linked to criminal activities, he said, "yes, it is definitely linked to criminal activities. Both marijuana and the use of these hard drugs".

"People will go and rob and try to make money so they can fund their drug usage but at the same time meth is more targeted to a more higher end clientele, those who have money.

"They are approached by pushers. It's not the normal pushers that's doing it, these are people in cars who approach well-off people at service stations when they come to refuel their vehicle and at high-end nightclubs during certain days of the week."

Brig-Gen Qiliho said to realise the effects of the use of such drugs, Fiji just needed to look at Australia and New Zealand. He said for a small nation like Fiji, the effects would be devastating.

"We're having people with less or no productivity at all. The effects of methamphetamine compared with marijuana is even worse. "The strain on the economy in looking after these people through the health ministry will be enormous."

Brig-Gen Qiliho said there was a need for everyone to talk about the issue of drugs and be more aware about it.

He has also pleaded with the public to report to police if they have any information of suspicious illegal drug activities.

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old man is expected to be produced in the Nasinu Magistrates Court today after he was allegedly found in possession of illicit drugs.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed a raid was conducted by Valelevu police at the suspect's home from where more than one kilogram of methamphetamine was allegedly seized.

"Working off a tip received about the 36-year-old's alleged involvement in drug related activities, a raid was conducted yesterday morning (Tuesday) by officers from Valelevu whereby a plastic bag containing the alleged substance was allegedly found in his home," she said.

Ms Naisoro said the substance was analysed and confirmed to be methamphetamine.

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