Commish says majority of drug sources are two local companies

Many DPS challenges are “not new” — they were just not resolved by previous admins
fili@samoanews.com

Police Commissioner Save Liuato Tuitele says three or four recent suicide cases “have something to do with drugs” and claims that two locations or companies are the source supplier of illegal drugs.

Save made the revelation during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting at the Agriculture Department conference room, where he spoke about the many challenges faced by the Department of Public Safety, saying that they are not new — they have been there for a long time — but now with the current administration, they are working to address them.

He acknowledged many public concerns about DPS and he claimed there are personnel in the DPS workforce who are not honest and truthful in their duties, and cannot do the work —even the simplest task.

Save said these are not new problems either, they have existed for a long time and it’s his belief that there wasn’t strong leadership then to correct them, and this is why they are now the current administration’s problems.

The police commissioner then told the cabinet meeting about the three or four reports of suicide in American Samoa in the last two or three months. He said that what police know from these deaths, is that they “all has something to do with [illegal] drugs” — and that people have easy access to drugs.

Not only the youth but, adults have easy “availability” to the illegal drug — ice, he said, adding that police analysis of people, their families as well as where they work all point to two “kamupani” or companies, which are the sources of the majority of illegal drugs — including marijuana.

Save declined to identify the two companies or locations because he said the “au faikakala” — referring to Samoa News and KHJ news reporters — are present. 

While he didn’t have the answer to address the drug problem, he said that there is a need for villages and districts to work together with the government, adding that police alone cannot address this issue, which he says is a challenge.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga acknowledged Save’s statement, saying the government cannot ignore this serious problem. “It’s our responsibility to know and to understand what’s going on,” he told cabinet directors.

Lolo suggested DPS and other ASG agencies involved in such areas, including the local Department of Homeland Security and cabinet directors with knowledge of the law, meet to come up with specific and important recommendations as to how best to address this serious issue and present those recommendations to the Governor’s Office.

The governor pointed out that one of the areas that ASG is working on to address this problem is implement the scanning X-ray equipment, so as to detect illegal items — such as drugs and firearms — and prevent them from entering the territory.

During Fono hearings on the Rapi-scan machines, chief customs officer Moetulu’i Fuiava warned lawmakers of the serious problems of illegal drugs being smuggled into the territory and the X-ray machine would be able to detect them.

He said people bringing in contraband are “five steps ahead of us, so we have to counter” them. “We’ve seen it when people mask drugs in coffee cans, in milk, in peanut butter [jars]. I can tell you many of the stories and these machines can detect contraband,” he told House members.

NEW TCF INMATE BUILDING

Also at the cabinet meeting Save gave an update on the status of the new male inmate building at the Territorial Correctional Facility, saying that finishing touches are almost completed for the building and expects the building to be dedicated before the end of this month.

Lolo added that the dedication would be at 9a.m. on Thursday Sept. 29.

According to DPS’s fiscal year 2016 third quarter performance report, the new building, funded with Capital Improvement Project (CIP) money, will house 112 male inmates and resolves the overcrowding problem at TCF and improves security of the inmates

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