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Tonga steps up war on meth trade with multiple arrests, over 30kg of drug seized


More than 250 people have been arrested as Tonga's police launches its war against methamphetamine in the kingdom with a vengeance.

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A special taskforce has also seized more than 30kgs of the drug in a wide-ranging operation. Source: 1 NEWS

The special taskforce has also seized over 30 kilograms of meth in a wide-ranging operation.

Last year 1 NEWS revealed how deeply entrenched the meth trade is at every level of society in Tonga.

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A critical lack of addiction treatment resources is causing problems in the kingdom, Barbara Dreaver discovers. Source: 1 NEWS

Now, the battle against drugs is one of the Tongan government's highest priorities, boosting police and customs' coffers by more than $1 million each, with New Zealand providing a further $9 million.

The funding appears to be paying off, in the past year there have been 263 people arrested over drugs and more than 30kgs of meth seized with a street value of more than $26 million.

Twenty-eight police officers have also been suspended, with Tonga's police minister furious that many of those connected with the trade remain at top levels of society.

"Don't think you can sit on some high places and think you're too high for the police to reach, it's just a matter of time, you deal you pay," Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu says.

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People in authority are looking the other way, Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver reports. Source: 1 NEWS

However, one woman told 1 NEWS police ignored evidence she turned in about her husband dealing meth, after she claims her home became a major drug distribution centre forcing her to flee with her children.

"I do not trust the police. I get no help, the police are helping my husband," she says.

It's clear war is now being waged on meth in Tonga, more uncertain is who will win.