VANUATU HEROIN HAUL GOES MISSING

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 4) – About eight kilograms of heroin has been stolen from a 120 kilogram drug package that was found on a Vanuatu beach in September.

The drugs, initially thought to be cocaine, have since been identified as heroin.

The cache was found and moved to a location near Eton village, by a local man, who identified himself as John Rambo.

Some weeks later, he contacted the publisher of the Daily Post who persuaded the man to call the police.

Before authorities could take the drugs away, eight kilograms of the package went missing.

Police are continuing their investigation as to where it initially came from as well as where the missing drugs have gone.

Police Commissioner Chief of Staff, John Talio, says the maximum penalty for the person who took the heroin is life in prison and a fine of US$888,000.

Mr Talio says the heroin the police received has a street value of about US$22 million.

November 4, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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