$50m drug bust, COVID eases in French Polynesia

Port of Uturoa in Raiatea, French Polynesia. PHOTO: Port Autonome de Papeete

Police in French Polynesia have seized almost US$50 million worth of methamphetamine (‘ice’) on a cruise ship from the United States.

A 27-year-old Tahitian passenger has been arrested after the discovery of 21 kilograms of the illicit drug in his luggage.

The authorities say the man had wanted to offload a suitcase when the cruise ship, the MS Zuiderdam was in port in Uturoa on Raiatea.

More than four kilograms of the illicit drug were found in the suitcase.

A subsequent search of his cabin turned up a further 15 kilograms of methamphetamine in other luggage.

The passenger, who has been transferred to Papeete for further questioning, risks a jail term of up to 10 years.

COVID-19 update

Meanwhile, another 204 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in French Polynesia in the last 72-hour reporting period as the pandemic continues to ease. The health authorities say five patients are in hospital.

The number of active cases has almost halved in the past week and is now 662.

More than 80% of those 12 years and older have had two jabs.

Pandemic-related restrictions were further relaxed earlier this month by exempting more people from the obligation to be vaccinated.

There is also no longer a need to show a vaccine pass for domestic travel.