14 Sep 2004

Vanuatu police commander says drug haul may have been from passing boat

8:33 pm on 14 September 2004

The southern police commander in Vanuatu, Major Arthur Caulton, says a record drug haul found on a beach near Port Vila, may have fallen from a yacht.

The tightly packed cache, weighing 120 kilograms, was the largest-ever quantity of drugs recovered in the country.

The drugs were understood to have been found up to 16 weeks ago and buried near Eton village.

The cache came to light last week when one person from the village approached Mark Neil Jones, the editor of the Daily Post newspaper.

Mr Neil Jones checked out the claim and then convinced the man who had led him to the cache to hand it over to the authorities.

Major Caulton says police are investigating why it took so long for them to be notified about the discovery.

He says the drugs, thought to be cocaine, have been sent to Australia for testing.

He says the police are speculating that the haul was washed ashore after falling from a passing boat.