24 Sep 2009

Tonga navy says more authority needed to stop drug trafficking

6:18 pm on 24 September 2009

The acting head of Tonga's navy says it needs more authority to be able to stop drug trafficking.

The comment comes as police investigate the country's biggest seizure of illicit substances, following a raid on two homes in Nuku'alofa earlier this week.

The police commander says he hopes test results to confirm the drugs are methamphetamine will be available by tomorrow evening and investigations are continuing into how they entered Tonga.

Chris Kelley says hundreds of small yachts enter Tongan waters each year and the navy is one of the agencies with whom the police must work more closely in order to tighten border controls.

The navy's Lieutenant Commander Sione Ulakai says at the moment the navy can't search boats without police or customs officers.

"But we hope that in the near future in terms of advising us, instead of embarking officers from various authorities they can agree to give us the authority to do that ourselves or otherwise authorise the navy officers to do that job for them."

Lieutenant Commander Sione Ulakai.