Thirteen people charged in relation to the seizure of more than four tons of methamphetamine in Nadi worth more than $2billion (US$1 billion) will be produced at the Nadi Magistrates Court today.

The accused persons face charges of unlawful importation of illicit drugs, unlawful possession of illicit drugs, possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime relating to the importation and transportation of illicit substances.

Fiji Police Assistant Commissioner – Crime Mesake Waqa also revealed that Fiji was being used as a transit point and that the meth consignment was destined for a foreign market.

He said joint efforts with international law enforcement partners – the Australian Federal Police and the Pacific Transnational Crime and Coordination Centre – also expected some of the spillover was for the local market.

“We can also confirm that the illicit substances did arrive in Fiji in late December, and the exchange of the shipment of methamphetamine believed to be made outside of Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and the packages were delivered via a barge,” ACP Waqa said in a statement Monday.

He said their investigations had revealed that the illicit substances stored at a private warehouse – more than three tons were allegedly transported to Legalega and later more than 1 ton to Maqalevu.

Those involved in the delivery and subsequent packing of the drugs have also been charged.

The ACP Crime said the investigations are by no means over and they will be working closely with their foreign partners and expect to make more arrests.

Investigators are working with the Office of the DPP looking into the proceeds of crime.

He said investigation will also be pursuing information of the involvement of other locals as they cannot rule out the involvement of other persons of interest.

The ACP Crime said investigations have also uncovered the involvement of a foreign national tied to a known syndicate, whom they are pursuing with the help of their international partners.

The Fiji Police Force has acknowledged with sincere gratitude the sharing of information resulting in the quick arrest of three of the main accused persons in the Northern Division as they were allegedly trying to flee the country.

The ACP Crime said they also acknowledge those who voluntarily came forward with information of suspected illegal activities, resulting in other arrests.

In another statement, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, John Rabuku, has sanctioned charges against 13 accused persons in relation to the Nadi drug bust case.

The 13 accused persons are charged with unlawful possession of illicit drugs. Of the 13 accused persons, two are also charged with unlawful importation of illicit drugs. It is alleged that the accused persons without lawful authority, facilitated the importation and were found in possession of 4.8 tonnes of methamphetamines, an illicit drug.

Additionally, three of the 13 accused persons are charged with possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime. It is alleged that the three accused persons were found in possession of cash (local and overseas currency) suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Among those charged include Justin Steven Masih Ho, David Otto Heritage, Louie Frank Penijamini Logaivau, Issac Lesiyanawai, Ratu Aporosa Davelevu, Sakiusa Tuva, Iosefo Roqica, Maika Vakanawa Yabakivou, Ratu Osea Navalunilotu Levula, Cathy Tuirabe, Nancy Elia Mateyawa, Jale Aukerea, and Keanie Lilo Mcpherson.

Meanwhile, the Australian Border Force has commended the Fiji Police Force for their successful detection and handling of the recent drug busts in Nadi.

Australian Border Force Superintendent Uriah Turner emphasises the diligence exhibited by the Fiji Police Force in addressing the persistent challenges posed by illegal drug activities.

He said the Australian Border Force assumes a pivotal supportive role in this operation, particularly in coordination with customs authorities.

Turner adds that their focus is on assessing and mitigating threats to the borders.

Additionally, there is a concerted effort to ensure that these substances do not leave the country and reach destinations such as Australia and neighbouring countries.