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Leaders seek drug trafficking crackdown

Thursday August 01, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
Members of the Te Koutu Nui conference. 19073131 Members of the Te Koutu Nui conference. 19073131

Traditional leaders have called on government to invest more in border control to combat drug trafficking.

 

Police chiefs yesterday briefed the annual Koutu Nui conference on the emergence of methamphetamine in the Cook Islands.

One man is facing meth charges already, and two more appeared last week on other drug charges.

Police Commissioner Maara Tetava and Chief Inspector John Strickland said that because the community was so small, people were reluctant to come forward with information about family or friends.

“If you have information, let us know, we need evidence, let’s work together and tackle this,” Tetava told the leaders.

There were two sniffer dogs, one patrolling the airport and one at the port, the entry points where these drugs are most likely to entry the country, he said. And a scanner machine was used at the airport to check luggage.

Each month, an average of 400 containers are landed.

One concerned Mataiapo said government needed to invest more money into border control – the police, customs and immigration – as only certain containers were checked due to the lack of personnel. “We need every single container thoroughly checked,” Koutu Nui president Terea Matiapo Paul Raui Allsworth stated.

Leaders asked if there were programmes to educate kids and the community on this drug issue and what  the effect would be on people’s health if this addiction gets out of control, and whether the police would conduct community meetings.

Te Koutu Nui noted the concept to support more revenue is needed to monitor our borders considering there is a serious lack of employees to cope with the amount of incoming cargo at the airport and shipping sites.

Ideas to assist the combat of drugs included shipping containers being x-rayed, CCTV camera’s in town and the nightclubs, monitoring school grounds that may be used as a trading area and the concern that fishing boats are used as drug carriers too.

The seminar also talked over: To Tatou Enua (Our land Rights and Changes), Marae Moana Project, Te Uarakau Kino e te Au Puakaoa (Meths and Canine Problems), Te Tua Porena (Immigration, PR’s and work permits), Vairakau Maori (Traditional medicine), and Reo Maori e te Peu Tupuna (Maori language and our culture); it continues today with the election of the office bearers scheduled for 12.15.