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French Polynesia

Tahiti customs seize 190,000 black pearls

A black pearl
A black pearl Open access/Brocken Inaglory

Customs officers have seized a record 190,000 black pearls, worth thousands of euros, at the home of a drug trafficker on a French Polynesian island. The man, who had just left prison, could go back there for another three years.

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Customs officers at the port in Papeete, capital of Tahiti, found 5.3 kilogrammes of black pearls on a 50-year-old man who could not explain how he had come by them.

When they searched his home on the nearby island of Moorea, they found 327 kilos of black pearls and rejected pearls, whose sale is banned, money and metamphetamines.

The man had just finished a jail term for dealing in the metamphetamine known as “ice”, imported from the US.

Officials say that the trade in black pearls is used to launder the profits from drug dealing.

If found guilty, the suspect could be fined up to 637,000 euros and jailed for up to three years.

 

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