Cocaine washes up on Marshall Islands: police
MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS: Several packages of cocaine have washed ashore on a Marshall Islands atoll in the western Pacific, police said Sunday, the latest shipment of drugs to pitch up on the remote archipelago’s coast.
Police said they recovered about 18 kilograms (40 pounds) of the drug from a local resident who found the drug-filled packages on Enewetak Atoll and was arrested for not immediately handing them over to authorities.
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Cocaine sold in the Marshalls’ capital Majuro was believed to be from the same shipment, police said.
“A total of 18 packages of what is believed to be drugs were confiscated by Marshall Islands police department and Enewetak local police,” Police Commissioner George Lanwi said.
A detective went to Enewetak last week to investigate reports that a local resident was in possession of the drugs and “criminal charges will be filed soon in court against the person who was involved in the possession”, Lanwi said.
It was the latest in a series of drug packages to wash up on beaches in the Marshall Islands, which is on the northern trans-Pacific cocaine route from South America to China.
“The history of cocaine wash-ups in the Marshall Islands goes back into the 1980s,” according to a 2012 report in the Asia Pacific Defence Reporter, an Australia-based military and law enforcement-related website.
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Between 2002 and 2009, bundles of cocaine and boats with cocaine on board were found washed up on beaches around the Marshall Islands on at least six occasions.
“This indicates a very substantial and long-established cocaine trade, and one on a massive scale,” the report said.
Lanwi said the packages in the latest find were similar to the packages of drugs that had previously washed up on atolls in the region.