An American visitor intending to travel to Los Angeles was stopped at the Rarotonga International Airport by Cook Islands police on Friday night.
The man was pulled aside following the screening of his luggage by airport security. He was instructed to remove a lighter, which had been stored in one of his bags. The Criminal Investigation Branch’s Drug Detection team then screened the man’s luggage and his belongings. An unspecified amount of cannabis was subsequently found in the man’s luggage.
The American appeared in the Cook Islands High Court on Saturday. He was forced to surrender his passport and will reappear on Thursday.
Just two weeks ago a woman entering the Cook Islands at Rarotonga International Airport was also detained, after she was found to be carrying a drug-related utensil. The visitor appeared in the High Court later that day on a charge of possession of a utensil for drug use and entered no plea. She received bail and was advised to seek legal advice before reappearing in court last Thursday.
The police warn that “the risk of carrying illegal drugs across borders will have consequences here in Rarotonga, irrespective of where you live”.