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UPDATE: Friday's meth bust sees one arrest made

reporters@samoanews.com

Methamphetamine that was found in a package that came through the mail over the weekend is believed to be the largest quantity found in the territory within the last five years, said Commander of the Vice and Narcotics Division Captain Peau Paulo Leuma.

The VND Captain said the street value of the methamphetamine is valued at more than half a million dollars, while marijuana, which was also found, is valued at close to $5,000.

The illegal drugs found in the package led to the arrest of 19-year old Folasa Galea’i, who was present at the Post Office on Friday to claim the package.

The methamphetamine found weighed close to 12 lbs.; and the marijuana found was close to one pound.

Galea’i was arrested on Friday and formally charged on Sunday with his bail set at $100,000.

The young man is facing unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine with intent to distribute. This count carries a jail term of not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than $20,000 or both; and is also charged with unlawful possession of controlled substance, marijuana with intent to distribute which is punishable by not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than $20,000 or both.

According to the government’s case, police were contacted by Chief Custom’s Officer Glen Lefiti regarding their discoveries in a package that came through the mail.

Court affidavit says that when detectives with the VND arrived at the post office and saw Galea’i, also present were two 11 X11 Ziploc plastic baggies containing a crystalline substance that appeared to be  methamphetamine/ice, and next to it were 12 bundles of green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana.

Court documents say that police obtained written statements from customs agents who were present when Galea’i was at the US post office claiming the package.

Customs agents told police that after the package was released from the postal employee to the defendant, customs agents asked Galea’i if the package belonged to him, to which the defendant replied no, and said the package belonged to his uncle and he was sent to pick it up.

One Customs agent told police that when they opened the box, they observed a variety of snacks and some canned foods, and when they removed the items that were in the box they came across cans of whole tomatoes which they noticed were too light, which was unusual. Court documents say that’s when the K9 unit was called for assistance.

Customs agents told police that while waiting for the K9 unit, the defendant said he’s going to get his uncle, and when he returned, the K9 unit had already taken over the inspection of the package.

According to the court document, when the defendant returned, without his uncle, he picked up the box and while he was walking out the Customs agents stopped him, and informed the defendant that they didn’t need his consent to open the box because the law authorizes Customs Agents to search and seize any contraband.

The four tomato cans, according to court documents, were labeled with the numbers 2, 4, 5 and 8, and were lighter than the two remaining cans, which were labeled “clear”. Customs agents opened the tomato cans which were labeled with numbers and each can contained sealed plastic baggies containing a green leafy substance, which appeared to be marijuana.

The customs agents also opened the cans which were labeled “clear” and each can contained sealed plastic baggies of a white crystalline substance that appeared to be methamphetamine.

Court documents say the defendant was then asked who is his uncle that owns the package, and the defendant said “Milton”.

Police then arrived at the scene and arrested the defendant. At the police station, defendant again told police that the box belongs to his uncle, but he refused to reveal his uncle’s name.

The substances found in the package tested positive as methamphetamine and marijuana. Galea’i is scheduled to make his initial appearance in District Court today.



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