Fiji: Aus Man Receives 14 Years Jail For Cocaine Possession

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

$9.6M street value, seizure was joint operation

By Liam Fox

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 29, 2016) – An Australian man has been sentenced to 14 years' jail in Fiji after being found guilty of possessing nearly 50 kilograms of cocaine.

Fiji police arrested Joseph Abourizk and a Fijian man near Lautoka in July last year and found several parcels of cocaine in the boot of the car they were travelling in.

The 30-year-old from Sydney had maintained his innocence but was found guilty of possessing illicit drugs by the country's High Court last week.

Local reports say the judge said both men had little regard for the laws of Fiji.

Abourizk will be eligible for parole after serving 12 years.

The haul was estimated to have had a street value of $9.6 million, Fiji police said in a statement in July last year.

Its then chief of investigations and intelligence, Henry Brown, said the two men were apprehended near the Vuda Point Marina in Lautoka with parcels of the drug found in their vehicle.

"Further investigations also resulted in the discovery of large amounts of Fijian and Australian currency from one of the suspects' hotel rooms," he said.

Assistant Police Commissioner Brown said at the time that the seizure was executed following weeks of intelligence gathering through a joint effort between Fiji police, its revenue and customs authority, and Australian Federal Police.

 

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