2 arrested in Kava-Kava bust!

By enquirewithin · Nov 10, 2008 · Updated Nov 11, 2008 · ·
  1. enquirewithin
    POLICE have seized 270kg of kava - valued at $368,000 - bound for sale in the Top End.


    Officers from Katherine and Mataranka stations joined forces on Sunday, after a tip-off that a commercial quantity of drugs was being transported in the area.

    They intercepted two men 8km from Mataranka, and officers later discovered the kava packed in 13 separate bags.

    The two men, aged 44 and 46, were arrested and later charged with possessing and supply of a commercial quantity of kava.

    Both men were remanded to appear in the Katherine Court at a later date.


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  1. 0utrider
    is this i an actual "drug" case or rather a case of selling medicines without license? the latter, i would understand somehow, obviously the former as well but i though kava was legal in AU? or somehow regulated but basically available?!
  2. Bajeda
    270kg of Kava valued at $368,000?!? How in the hell did they get that estimate?
  3. Alfa
    That's 1.300 Euro per kg. They likely took the price for small quantities and multiplied it.
  4. psyche
    Who would've thought kava-kava is being under the snuffly nose of the government.

    It's still an enormous price for a kg. Not to discuss prices, but this is many, many times the regular price.
  5. Bajeda
    That seems to be standard practice for valuating busts, but they overestimated the prices for small quantities (are they are going to sell gram bags of kava or what?) in this case. Maybe there are actually people paying through the nose for Kava by the gram since it was banned in AU, but I somehow doubt it.
  6. enquirewithin
    It's absurd seeing kava treated like this. Congratulations to Australia for creating a new black market-- very lucrative if you can believe the inflated prices! :(
  7. PsychoActivist
    It IS absurd to see someone catching a charge for Kava. So, it is to my understanding that Kava is legal to possess and sell in AUS, but illegal to import unless one is licensed, so what where they importing it?
  8. enquirewithin
    As far as I can tell that's correct. Presumably this 'bust' must have been for importing kava with the intent to sell it. The article makes it look like a drug bust complete with inflated 'street values.' Perhaps this is just poor journalism.

    There appears to be a problem in some Aboriginal communities where people are abusing kava and being exploited by suppliers. Kava is regulated rather than prohibited (which sounds sensible). Theoretically, someone could be jailed for up to 14 years for importing more than 25 kg of kava, but individuals are allowed to import up to 2 kg for their own use.

    Kava is regulated by the Kava Management Bill 1997.
  9. enquirewithin
    Customs officers seize tonnes of kava

    Customs investigators in Sydney have seized four tonnes of kava, an intoxicating powder made from the root of the kava plant.

    Kava is used as a social and ceremonial drink among Pacific Islanders and in remote communities of Australia.

    Customs officers first discovered the 176 bags of kava among a declared shipment of taro and yams in a refrigerated sea container from Tonga, which was examined at Port Botany on November 20.

    Customs national manager of investigations Richard Janeczko said authorities were concerned about the misdescription of goods as well as the large quantity of kava involved.

    "Customs investigators are working to gather evidence to enable charges to be laid by summons against those responsible," Mr Janeczko said in a statement.

    Import restrictions on kava were tightened by the government in June last year, he said.

    At present, up to 2kg of kava is allowed in the baggage of an incoming passenger into Australia aged 18 or over in recognition of its traditional uses among Pacific Islanders.

    But large scale importations of kava are prohibited and are not allowed except for medical or scientific purposes with the appropriate permits, Mr Janeczko said.

    "This restriction was considered necessary to combat kava abuse and significant associated health problems particularly in indigenous communities," he said.

    The maximum penalty for smuggling kava is $110,000.

    December 5, 2008 - 1:12PM

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