Make drug paraphernalia possession illegal, says cop
Head of Vice and Narcotics Division with the Department of Public Safety, Captain Peau Paulo Leuma is optimistic that the Attorney General’s office will heed his advice to look into drafting an administration bill that would make it illegal for anyone to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.
He explained that possession of drug paraphernalia includes the possession of either the actual supplies used to ingest, inject, smoke or use drugs, as well as the tools used to cultivate, grow, store, analyze, process or manufacture any type of drug or controlled substance.
Leuma, who has been working with the Vice and Narcotics Division which deals with drugs cases for the majority of his career as a police officer, said that in many drug busts conducted in the past, they don’t find drugs—however, they find a lot of drug paraphernalia.
“What this tells me.. it means we came too late or too early, when the drugs are absent. But then, if these suspects are not dealing or using drugs, then why are they in possession of such items?” he asked.
Captain Leuma said he has mentioned this many times to lawyers from the Attorney General’s office and yet nothing has been done.
Leuma said last year alone there were ten drug busts and several of those drug raids turned up with nothing but drug paraphernalia. He told Samoa News that this year it’s only May and yet they have already conducted more than 20 police raids of homes and persons suspected of being in possession of illegal drugs.
“Three homes we searched came up with no illegal drugs — just numerous items of paraphernalia”, he said.
“Illegal drugs in the territory are increasing and it’s becoming a problem that should be exterminated before it’s too late and one of the ways to deal with this is to make it illegal for anyone to be in possession of drug paraphernalia,” he stated.
Leuma said that in some states, drug paraphernalia includes household scales, rolling papers, clips, cylindrical glass pipes with a bulbous end, bongs, vaporizers, 2 liter soda bottles, smoking masks, razor blades, digital scales, hose or tub and miniature spoons, but only if actual drugs or controlled substances are also found.
He added that possession of drug paraphernalia should be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use. He said the prosecutors should also look at making it unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know.
The Captain went on to say that he believes the Attorney General’s office should also consider the transporting of drug paraphernalia to sell or provide to someone else should be categorized under this same ’possession of drugs paraphernalia’ conduct.
The captain said a majority of the states in the U.S. have laws which make it illegal for anyone to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Emails regarding this matter were sent to Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau who is currently off island attending a conference, but there was no response as of press time.