Crime syndicates are believed to be taking advantage of weak laws and inadequate border controls in the Pacific.
A ONE News investigation shows transnational crime is a growing concern in a region targeted by criminals who want to ship guns and drugs into New Zealand and Australia.
"They will exploit where they perceive they see a weakness anywhere in the supply chain and if they see they can bring yachts through Pacific Island nations and hand over drugs or sail through undetected, they will," Australia's Federal head of organised crime says.
Commissioner David Sharpe says the Pacific is being used as a staging point. "It's also a point where we are seeing the mother ships using the South Pacific to hand over around that region to smaller vessels."
Police hope recent successful raids like the one on the yacht Friday Freedom sends the message to criminals that the Pacific can't be used as a highway for illegal activities.
After a 10 month investigation, $3.5 million in cash and $100 million worth of cocaine was found in the raid on Friday Freedom.
"The drugs were brought in under the guise of a yacht race, so it's a good example how they could also find some cover to bring those drugs into Australia," Sharpe said.
However mystery and intrigue surrounds the latest case still under investigation.
The luxury yacht Phocea was seized in Vanuatu last month, with police saying they suspected gun smuggling, money laundering and breaching maritime borders.
Just before sailing to Vanuatu the Phocea stopped in Tonga where most of the Tongan cabinet, including the Prime Minister climbed aboard to meet with the owner - flamboyant Thai national Pascal Anh Quan.
However Anh Quan fled Vanuatu just before the ship was raided. The crew have so far pleaded guilty to breaching customs and immigration laws more charges could be pending.
It is not yet 100% clear why the Tongan government officials met with the superyacht owner, however it is understood some officials used the vessel as a meeting location to discuss a vote of no confidence.