Tonga police have arrested and charged a 45-year-old man from Nukuhetulu in connection with the seizure of 30 kilograms of methamphetamine found in a shipping container from Tonga in Auckland.
Meanwhile, New Zealand authorities have arrested five suspects and charged them with importation of methamphetamines from Tonga, Detective Acting Deputy Commissioner Halatoa Tāufa said.
The illicit drugs, with approximated street value of NZ$15 million, were concealed in a refrigerated food container.
They were intercepted through a joint operation by the New Zealand Customs and Police in early August, Tāufa said.
“Through a strong partnership between law enforcement in New Zealand and Tonga, the Tonga Police DET conducts parallel investigations in Tonga that led to the arrest of the accused person who has been placed on remand while investigations continue,” Taufa said.
“Law enforcement from both countries will continue to work together and share
information to ensure these transnational drug trafficking organisations are identified,
dismantled and those responsible held accountable.
“New Zealand Customs’ recent arrest of five people in New Zealand for importing methamphetamine from Tonga with further arrest in Tonga is an excellent example of this trans-pacific law enforcement partnership in action.
“Please contact Police on phone 740-1660 or 922 if you have any information on any drug related activity.”
The New Zealand and Tonga arrests came after an estimated 14kgs of cocaine washed up on beaches in Vava’u.
Tongan police seized the haul and an ongoing investigation has seen 21 people charged so far including three foreigners.