Foreign national charged with possession after police operation leads to 23 arrests

    Tongan police have arrested a foreign man and charged him with possession of methamphetamine.

    The foreign national was one of 23 people arrested during a 10-hour police operation on Saturday 8 targeting suspects of housebreaking and thefts with links to drug offending and those with outstanding bench warrants.

    He was among three suspects arrested for possession of illicit drugs.

    Acting Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea said the 54 year old man was arrested at his home,the former Good Samaritan Inn at Kolovai.

    The arrest and search were made by the Police Drugs Enforcement Taskforce and the Criminal Investigation Unit.

    Police seized a pack of methamphetamine, drugs paraphernalia, electronic devices and cash from the suspect’s residence.

    The suspect has been charged with possession of illicit drugs and released on bail.

    On Monday New Zealand television reported that methamphetamine use was rife in Tonga and being driven by Tongans deported to the kingdom from the United States and Australia.

    As Kaniva News reported on Monday, about 30 Tongan nationals are deported from the United States each year.

    Many of the deportees have been engaged in gang activity since childhood.

    Last year a 2016 Transnational Organised Crime Assessment said methamphetamine was one of the main threats to law and order in the region.

    In April this year Radio Australia said the kingdom was facing a rising tide of methamphetamine abuse.

    “It only takes one call to disrupt the supply of drugs in your community and we encourage anyone who can provide information of drug dealing to contact Police,” Acting Chief Superintendent Tevita Vailea said.

    The main points

    • Tongan police have arrested a foreign man and charged him with possession of methamphetamine.
    • The foreign national was one of 23 people arrested during a 10-hour police operation targeting suspects of housebreaking and thefts with links to drug offending and those with outstanding bench warrants.

    For more information

    Gangs smuggle guns into Tonga as kingdom faces a “tsunami” of methamphetamine

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