Australian police seize $600 million worth of MDMA powder

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019   •   655

Police in the Australian state of Queensland have seized 766 kg of MDMA ( methylenedioxymethamphetamine ) powder in one of the state’s biggest hauls, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The drugs were located at a property in Brisbane’s southern suburb of Loganlea, Australian media reported.

Police have estimated the drugs to be worth over A$900 million ($609 million) if sold on the streets.

The ABC reported that two citizens from the United Kingdom have been charged, along with an Australian man in relation to the MDMA.

As part of the Queensland operation, a further 200 kilograms of methamphetamine was also seized in Auckland, New Zealand last week, police said.

A 49-year-old male and a 60-year-old male, both from the United Kingdom were charged in relation to the seized methamphetamine, Queensland Police said. – REUTERS

(Production: Jill Gralow)

Official death toll rises to 17 in New Zealand’s Whakaari volcano eruption

UNTV News   •   December 23, 2019

An image provided by visitor Michael Schade shows White Island (Whakaari) volcano, as it erupts, in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 09 December 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/MICHAEL SCHADE

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – The official death toll in New Zealand’s Whakaari volcano eruption this month rose to 17 after one of those injured died in a hospital, police said on Monday.

“Police can confirm a further person has died in Middlemore Hospital last night (Sunday) following the Whakaari/White Island eruption,” New Zealand Police deputy commissioner John Tims said in a statement.

“The death of this person brings the official number of deceased to 17; 16 of whom died in New Zealand and one in Australia,” the statement added.

The victim was one of 14 people who were admitted to hospitals in New Zealand, most of them in critical condition, while a dozen more were transferred to hospitals in Australia.

The toll does not include two people who are still missing in waters around the island, presumed dead. They are New Zealand tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian Winona Langford, 17.

Last Wednesday, police said they were scaling back the search for Marshall-Inman and Langford.

Tims said in a statement that operations to locate the bodies would be handed to local authorities.

“It’s important to be clear – we haven’t given up,” Tims said underlining that the police would have a boat and helicopter deployed for several days from coastal town Whakatane, the closest on the mainland to Whakaari.

“We have always had an expectation of ourselves and others that all bodies would be recovered so it’s both disappointing and frustrating to be in this position,” he added.

Over the weekend an “extensive aerial search” was conducted between the island and the mainland to locate the missing two, police said Monday.

“No further items of significance were located,” said local Superintendent Andy McGregor, adding that police will review the search and decide how the operation will proceed.

Whakaari/White Island, privately-owned and one of the most active volcanoes in the country visited by more than 17,500 people in 2018, erupted on Dec. 9 when it was rated at Volcanic Alert Level 2 out of 5.

The New Zealand authorities have opened two investigations into the incident. EFE-EPA

New Zealand volcano death toll reaches 16

UNTV News   •   December 13, 2019

A handout photo made available by the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust shows an aerial view of the White Island volcano erupting, in New Zealand, 09 December 2019 (issued 10 December 2019). Hopes are low for finding any more survivors after a volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island, with questions being asked about why tourists were allowed there. At least five people died, some 30 others were injured and eight people are still missing after the White Island (Whakaari) volcano erupted on 09 December, media reported.

Sydney, Australia – Two people who were injured in the recent eruption of the Whakaari volcano in northeastern New Zealand died overnight at hospital, taking the death toll to 16, authorities reported.

So far, the police have confirmed the deaths of eight people, while another eight remain missing, but authorities have said the latter have virtually no chance of survival.

The total number of deaths could still increase given that there are 20 people injured, most of them in a serious condition.

The recent two deaths were that of two brothers, aged 13 and 16, from Australia.

New Zealand police on Wednesday released the names and nationalities of nine of the 14 people who are believed to have died after the eruption of the Whakaari volcano on White Island on Monday.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at a press conference that they had started the process of transferring five injured Australians and they hoped to carry out another seven evacuations in the next 24 hours.

On Wednesday, geological activity control group GeoNet warned that volcanic activity on Whakaari Island had increased significantly, and that the alert level remained at 3 on a scale of 5.

As a result, the authorities have not been able to return to the island, owing to safety reasons.

Police Minister Stuart Nash told the media that their priority was to get the victims out of the island but they also had to evaluate the risks.

On its part, GeoNet warned of a 40- to 60-percent chance of a fresh eruption in the next 24 hours.

The first volcanic eruption occurred on Monday afternoon when 47 tourists were visiting the privately-owned island, which is located 48 kilometers (about 30 miles) to the northeast off the coast of North Island.

Among the 47 tourists were people of various nationalities: 24 Australians, nine Americans, five New Zealanders, four Germans, two Britons, two Chinese and one Malaysian.

Whakaari – a 321 meter-high volcano, which has 70 percent of its structure hidden below sea level – is considered one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes and is a major tourist attraction.

Located at the southeastern end of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Whakaari last erupted in 2016 without causing any fatalities.

The deadliest incident at the site occurred in 1914 when 10 miners died as a result of a landslide caused by the collapse of part of the volcano’s crater. EFE-EPA

wat/sc/dl

NCRPO to check if drugs seized in Marikina are part of confiscated drugs in Makati

Maris Federez   •   December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines— The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is currently looking into the connection of the batch of methamphetamine or shabu that was seized in a buy-bust operation in Marikina on Monday night to the contraband confiscated by the PNP Drug Enforcement Group in Makati in November.

NCRPO acting director PBGen. Debold Sinas said both contrabands were put in teabags.

The official said he will have the seized product analyzed at the PNP Crime Laboratory to determine if it came from only one source.

“Yung pinaglalagyan nito ay teabag kaya nga ang suspetsa namin ay baka part ito ng nahuli sa Makati na 374. Pina compare na namin sa crime lab yung tea bag kung pareho ang appearance.  Kasi pag sinabi ng crime lab na pareho meaning na distribute na yung iba,” Sinas said.

On Monday night, authorities arrested a male-female partner in Marikina City where they seized over one kilogram of shabu with a street value of Php 7-million.(with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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