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Fiji fights drugs and bad cops

More than five tons of marijuana kept as exhibits between 2018 and 2021 were destroyed at the Kadavu Police Station in Fiji this week.

Narcotics have been kept in police custody for years and this has also created a problem where the exhibits have been taken by police officers and resold on the streets.

The street value of the marijuana burnt on Monday has been estimated at over AU$100 million.

Kadavu is an island located south of Viti Levu and has been one of the so called hotspots for the cultivation of marijuana.

Over the years, there have been ongoing raids on the island with the Fiji Police using drone technology to locate the farms.

Fiji Police have had to deal with spear guns being shot at drones and even the use of technology by cultivators to block drones from flying over their fields.

According to police, 76 applications were made for the disposal of drugs seized during the four year period in Kadavu. They were filed by the police prosecution at the Magistrates Court in Suva and granted last week.

More than five tons of marijuana kept as exhibits between 2018 and 2021 were destroyed at the Kadavu Police Station in Fiji this week. Picture – Fiji Police Force

On Monday morning more than 81,000 marijuana plants were destroyed at the Kadavu Police Station incinerator in Vunisea, witnessed by senior police and Kadavu Provincial Council Office representatives.

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Fiji’s Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho was in Kadavu to oversee the process.

He said the Fiji Police was intent on destroying all hard drugs kept as exhibits, following the process of getting the court approval for destruction.

He said by tightening up this process, officers won’t be tempted to take out drugs kept as exhibits and the handling of illicit substances will be done in a transparent and accountable manner.

He reiterated the organisation’s stand that officers who are working against efforts of combating the illicit drug trade have no place in the institution.

Mr Qiliho said such involvement undermines the integrity of the policing profession and tarnishes the reputation and hard work put in by thousands of police officers who are committed in fighting the war on drugs.

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