Vanuatu Police Arrest Villagers After Marijuana Raid

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50 suspects join 13 others arrested last week in Melip

By Thompson Marango

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, April 11, 2013) – Vanuatu police have confirmed that 50 more Melip villagers suspected of cultivating and supplying the illegal drug, marijuana, have been arrested since last weekend.

Daily Post was informed the suspects are expected to arrive today via patrol boat RVS Tukoro.

This will be the second group of suspects from the South Malekula village arrested and transported to Port Vila to face justice in less than a week.

Thirteen suspects are already in the hands of Police after they were arrest last week and transported to Port Vila last Friday.

They have been charged for "Cultivation of illegal drugs (Marijuana)."

Police informed that the suspects will be remanded at the Correctional Centre till April 19 2013 for their Preliminary hearing at the Magistrate court at 2pm.

The arrests are part of a Police Goodwill Operation launched last week to clampdown on marijuana cultivation and trade in the area that has been suspected of being the largest supplier of the illegal drug since early 2000.

Melip became infamous over the years for marijuana cultivation and trade. An earlier Police operation in 2007 had attempted to burn down the illegal plants but sources have confirmed it has reached a stage where more effort has to be asserted to eradicate the existence of marijuana as the fertile soil encourages it to grow wild in the area.

Over 30 officers from the Vanuatu Mobile Force, Vanuatu Maritime Wing, and Police Drug Unit are involved in the operation.

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