Samoa Govt. worker jailed for ‘ice’
A Quarantine Officer convicted of smuggling “ice” into the country has been jailed for three years and eight months.
The sentence for the 45-year-old father of two from Vaiala, Junior Patau was handed down by Justice Pierre Slicer in the Supreme Court yesterday.
Patau was convicted for unlawful possession of a narcotic.
“The offender was a Quarantine Officer with many years of service,” Justice Slicer said. “He was familiar with the personnel, practice and procedures as sociated with importation by sea and air.”
“He had used his knowledge of procedures to effect his purpose and betrayed the trust placed in him as a quarantine officer.”
Patau was represented by lawyer, Tole’afoa Solomona Toa’iloa. Precious Chang and Edelma Niumata prosecuted on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office.
Last month, Patau was found guilty by assessors for possessing a drug called methamphetamine, which is commonly referred to on the streets as “ice.”
The Court heard that on 12 December 2012, the defendant went to the Faleolo Airport to collect a suitcase addressed to a Samoan citizen who had not lived in Samoa for many years.
The suitcase had been consigned from Los Angeles via Auckland and was treated by Customs as unaccompanied luggage.
A Police investigation found that the quantity of the narcotic was 60.15 grams.
In his sentencing remarks, Justice Slicer said the defendant knew exactly what he was doing.
“The defendant had been employed in the Quarantine Division of the Government of Samoa for some 18 years, and was aware of the internal procedures and protocols of the systems in place for the processing of imported items either by consignment or as unaccompanied luggage,” said Justice Slicer.
“The suitcase was consigned by an American company, R. M. Imports trading in California, which provided documentation called an airway bill.”
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