Tuesday 22 November 2016
Statement to be attributed to Police Commissioner Steve Caldwell, Tonga Police
The largest single amount of cannabis to ever be seized by Tonga Police has been destroyed. (Still images and video available).
Last Thursday, officers from the Police Tactical Response Group and Drug Squad teams uprooted and seized 458 illegal cannabis plants during a search warrant in ‘Eua.
The large-scale Police operation continued on Friday, when officers seized a further 58 cannabis plants (34 growing, 24 already uprooted), 2 sacks filled with cannabis leaf, a bottle filled with cannabis seeds and a packet of dry cannabis leaf.
Two men have been charged in relation to last week’s record seizures and are before the courts on drugs and firearms-related charges.
Previous cannabis seizures have involved less than four hundred plants, which were not fully grown.
The drugs had an estimated street value of more than TOP$200 000.
They were destroyed earlier today at Tapuhia under strict conditions, witnessed by several independent persons.
Representatives from the Office of the Auditor General and the Ministry of Health attended, as did the Kolofo’ou District Officer and the Kolomotu’a Town Officer.
The cannabis was removed from the shipping container and transported via two Police vehicles to Tapuhia, where it was destroyed.
The social harm caused by drugs to the community is immense. Drugs don’t just harm the users, but their families and their communities. It’s the money that was spent on drugs, that was supposed to buy food and clothes for a man’s family. It’s the person who has their possessions stolen by someone who wants to swap them to buy drugs – the harm caused by drugs affects us all” says Commissioner Caldwell.
“The destruction of these drugs should send a clear message to anyone involved in the cultivation, supply and distribution of illegal drugs – you will be caught. We are committed to disrupting illegal drug activity in Tonga – there is no place for this in our country” he says.
Information can also be given anonymously to the Police Intelligence Unit on 23197.
Issued by the: Tonga Police Media & Communication Officer, Tonga Police Headquarters, Longolongo, (676) 23 318, (676) 23 323 Fax: (676) 23 036; for media enquiries – Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org