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‘Vahine Connection’ employed female couriers

By Patrick Antoine Decloitre

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, Sept. 2, 2008) – A Court in French Polynesia's capital, Pape'ete, has sentenced a French-American citizen to ten years jail for illegally importing and organising traffic of methamphetamine, dubbed "ice".

Teiva Spector, who holds both French and American citizenships, was regarded as the ringleader of a traffic that involved a total of 19 persons, who have all been appearing before the Pape'ete Correctional Tribunal for the past week.

They all received jail sentences ranging from one to ten years, local media report, while Spector received the maximum penalty.

Spector, who was already serving a preventive jail sentence, is likely to appeal, his lawyer said outside the Court room.

The traffic, which had been going on over a period of two years, was unveiled in July 2006, with the intervention of French police and border authorities and the arrest of one of the "mules", a French Polynesian woman.

She was found carrying some 467 grams of "ice", with an estimated market value of some 460,000 US dollars.

Investigators estimated, however, that over a period of close to two years, up to 3 kilograms of ice may have been smuggled into French Polynesia as part of the same scheme.

Subsequent investigation later established that the scheme mainly consisted in Spector buying the drugs in California, and then organising the trip for women to travel all expenses paid (plus a premium of one million French Pacific Francs [12,500 US dollars] per trip) between Los Angeles and Pape'ete, typically concealing the illegal drug in their underwear.

The case has hence been dubbed the "Vahine Connection".

In delivering the sentence, the Court stressed that since it was the first case of this kind in French Polynesia, it also wanted to send a clear and strong signal to whoever intended to mount a similar traffic.

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