NUKU’ALOFA: A suspected drug dealer was freed on bail after a 30kg package of illicit drug was found in a shipping container in New Zealand.
The food container was transported from Tonga before it arrived in New Zealand in July.
Norman Kama Manulevu is expected to reappear in court in December 13 after he has been charged with exporting illicit drugs after a joint operation between New Zealand and Tonga police intercepted the suspicious parcel in Auckland.
Meanwhile, New Zealand authorities have arrested five suspects and charged them with importation of methamphetamines from Tonga as part of the investigations.
Last week, the king opened a two-day National Symposium aimed to develop a way forward in Tonga’s fight against illicit drugs.
The king previously criticised the parliament for what he says is a failure by the government to combat the country’s problems with drug addiction, in a move that has been welcomed by politicians and civil society groups.
In August 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.ga
The recent arrests included a 49-year-old man and his 23-year-old wife from Ta’anea, Vava’u on August 23.
The couple are in police custody charged with engaging with others in the supply of illicit drugs.