11 Apr 2013

50 people arrested on cannabis charges in Vanuatu

8:45 am on 11 April 2013

More than 50 people have been arrested in Vanuatu for cultivating and supplying cannabis.

The people, from the village of Melip on Malekula island, where 13 people were arrested last week on the same charges.

The isolated village was first raided by police in 2007, when the village was found to have set up a cooperative for the cultivation and trade of the banned drug.

Police suspected the village again this year after they noticed an increase use of the drug in Port Vila, Lakatoro and Luganville.

The villagers claimed in 2007 that they didn't know it was cannabis, and a New Caledonian man gave them what they thought were holly seeds and told them it would make money.

The 50 suspects are due to appear in court in Port Vila later this week.