By NETANI RIKA
COCAINE seized on a remote Fiji island has been valued at close to $3million.
A joint naval operation between Fiji and New Zealand saw the seizure of 52 kilogrammes of cocaine in two separate raids.
Lieutenant Benjamin Flight, Commanding Officer of HMNZS Taupo, said 12kg was seized from an unidentified island in the Lau Group last week after a tip off from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.
Earlier in the month, 40kg of cocaine – with a street value of $USD27,000 per kg - was seized from the same island.
The packages were delivered to a police laboratory in Suva, tested and confirmed as cocaine.
Lt Flight said the island on which the seizure was made could only be accessed by ship.
Remote Fijian islands have been used in the past as transit points for drug dealers.
The remoteness of the islands and infrequent patrols make it possible for smugglers to drop packages off for pick up at a later date.
The NZ navy has provided the HMNZS Taupo because all Fiji’s patrol boats are out of service.