Tongatapu man gets life sentence for trafficking meth  

A Tongan man who was caught trying to smuggle 29.7kg of methamphetamine from Tonga into New Zealand has been sentenced to life at Hu’atolitoli prison.

Norman Kama Manulevu

Norman Kama Manulevu, 45, from Nukuhetulu, Tongatapu was charged with exporting illicit drugs after a joint operation between New Zealand and Tonga police intercepted the suspicious parcel in Auckland in 2021.

The parcel was concealed in a food container which was transported from Tonga before it arrived in New Zealand in July that year.

At the time, New Zealand authorities arrested five suspects and charged them with importation of methamphetamines from Tonga as part of the investigations.

A report by the Matangi Tonga Online this week said Justice Cooper sentenced Manulevu to life imprisonment, after he was found guilty by a jury on 10 August, at the Supreme Court in Nuku’alofa.

“It is understood that the accused is the first to be convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment under new amendments to the Illicit Drugs Control Act introduced in December 2020”, the report said. 

“The new provisions provide that a person convicted of importing or exporting a class A illicit drug such as methamphetamine or cocaine, above a certain weight, will receive a mandatory life imprisonment sentence.

“The provisions were introduced to impose tougher sentences for persons who import or export class A illicit drugs”.

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