Murray Taylor, Superintendent of the Australia Federal Police, has called the seizure of over 200 kilos of cocaine on a wrecked yacht in Tongan waters, as “In terms of the Pacific [islands] it is probably one of the largest, if not the largest in the Pacific itself.”
The drugs worth an estimated street value of AUD$116 million was seized by Tonga authorities on the wreck of the yacht ‘JeReVe’ that had run aground on a reef off Luatafito Atoll in Vava’u.
Tonga Police Commissioner Grant O’fee revealed the drugs were concealed within the hull of the 13-metre yacht.
Two divers in the area spotted the wrecked yacht and reported it to the Police.
On first inspection, a badly decomposed body of a man, believed to be a foreigner, was found behind the helm in the yacht. It is not yet known if there were other people on board after the yacht had reached Tonga.
In a joint press conference by the Deputy Prime minister Hon Samiu Vaipulu, the Tonga Commissioner of Police Grant O’Fee and Superintendent Murray Taylor of AFP, it was revealed that information from the US Drug Enforcement Agency had been received in August that a small yacht carrying cocaine was en route from Ecuador to Australia.
Investigation continues to be carried out by collaboration between the Cook Islands Police, the AFP, US Customs and DEA, and Tonga Police.
- TMN News