Tahiti cocaine smuggling probe remains on track

5:25 pm on 27 September 2018

An attempt to have a major cocaine smuggling case in French Polynesia thrown out over a technicality has failed.

Defence lawyers for three men charged with smuggling 500 kilogrammes of cocaine had said their clients were not given advice on how to challenge the search of their yacht in their native languages.

They said therefore the case against the two Dutchmen and a Pole was baseless.

Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia.

Rangiroa Atoll, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia. Photo: AFP / Photononstop

However, the investigating chamber dismissed the lawyers' bid.

Earlier, the prosecution claimed that customs staff could search any docked vessel and any challenge could only be filed within 72 hours.

The three suspects claimed they didn't know about the cocaine on their yacht when they were caught in the Marquesas Islands a year ago.

They claimed to have been paid a wage to sail the boat from South America across the Pacific, presumably to Australia.

Their case is to be judged in French Polynesia while other recent cocaine smuggling trial have been transferred to France.

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