24 Jul 2012

Three jailed after huge Cook Islands drugs bust, seven awaiting trial

5:31 pm on 24 July 2012

Three people involved in the Cook Islands' biggest ever drugs bust have been jailed for up to six years.

Cook Islands Television reports that a former senior policewoman Inano Matapo, her partner Giovanni Marsters and the postal worker who helped them Sam Tangaroa were all given jail terms after changing their pleas to guilty this month.

Their arrests followed a lengthy investigation that involved 11 New Zealand police.

Marsters, the son of the deputy prime minister, was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to cannabis charges, including importing the drug.

Matapo, the daughter of the former police commissioner, admitted selling the drug and corruption charges and was sentenced to two and a half years.

Tangaroa, who would intercept drug parcels before police dogs could detect them, will spend four years in jail for selling and supplying cannabis and importing the seeds.

Seven others, including a former New Zealand police detective, Mark Franklin, are awaiting trial on a variety of charges.