Dancer, boxer among seven in French Polynesia jailed for drug trafficking

Seven people in French Polynesia, including a dancer and a boxing champion, have been jailed for up to six years for their roles in trafficking almost two kilograms of methamphetamine since 2019.

The six-year sentence was given to the leader of the network, Manava Akau, whose hip hop group, All In One, made the 2018 semi-final of France's high-profile televised talent show.

Akau is also implicated in a separate case, which is yet to go to court, over the seizure two months ago of $US50 million worth of methamphetamine on the first cruise ship to arrive from the United States since 2020.

The court sentenced the 2020 French super heavyweight amateur boxing champion, Ariitea Putoa, to four years in prison. Putoa also fought professionally but retired after eight fights, two of them defeats.

The other five were given shorter jail sentences.

The seven had been arrested in March during an investigation prompted by the discovery of 74 grams of the drug smuggled to Tahiti by a hip hop dancer returning from the United States in 2019.

Methamphetamine use is considered a major problem in French Polynesia, with the authorities estimating more than 10,000 people regularly consume the drug.


Photo: Supplied  Caption: Ariitea Putoa