Cocaine yet to be destroyed in Solomon Islands

Supervising police commissioner Juanita Matanga. Picture: RNZ

HONIARA, 16 NOVEMBER 2018 (SOLOMON STAR) – Solomon Islands Police are yet to destroy the million dollars worth of cocaine that was seized from a yacht in Honiara in September.

Speaking to media personnel at the weekly commissioner’s conference Thursday, supervising police commissioner Juanita Matanga said they are continuing with their investigation on the case.

“We are still waiting for feedback from our samples,” Matanga said.

She said once those samples come, they will then look at when they will conduct the destruction.

“We will let you know of the destruction because it is quite high risk for all of us,” she said.

She added that it is a joint investigation with their counterparts from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Matanga further highlighted their team is still working with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to apply to the High Court for the forfeiture of the yacht that transported the cocaine.

“Currently the vessel is in our custody,” she said.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) together with the Australian Federal Police and other Australian authorities on 27 September this year has seized million dollars worth of cocaine from a yacht in Honiara.

It was alleged the cocaine was loaded into the yacht in South America and sailed to Honiara.

Police earlier reported that the alleged organisers in Australia were making arrangement to bring the yacht just before it was searched by the RSIPF.

So far, two men suspected to be responsible for trafficking the 500 kilograms of cocaine have been arrested in Sydney, Australia, the same day police boarded the yacht Vieux Malin that was berthing in Honiara.

One of the men, a 41 year-old has been charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of illicit drugs and dealing with money.

Another whom is a 39 year-old is being alleged to have facilitated the related money transfers.

The cocaine was located in a cavity behind a false wall panel in the interior of the yacht.

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