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Mauga again calls on the community to “take a stand” against illegal drugs

Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Speaking not only as a traditional leader but as a government leader, Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga T. Asuega has reiterated his call for a “strong stand” from all sectors of the community against illegal drugs, as more and more cases — the most recent including illegal weapons — are heard in court.

Mauga told a recent cabinet meeting that “there’s nothing more saddening” to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, Lt. Gov. Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga and “all of us leaders, when we see the safety and the health of our people constantly being challenged by things like dope, cocaine, illegal drugs, and all this stuff.”

He noted that just about everyday, the newspaper reports on such cases. “I ask you as a leader again, we need to stand up against this,” he said, noting that the government has already set up a Drug Commission and suggested working on rehabilitation.

“We have to do something on the rehab part, to help our people and our children. You know most of them are young people,” he said.

As reported by Samoa News last month, a police raid in Kokoland allegedly netted a large cache of firearms — including assault rifles — and drugs.

Mauga said it was scary when he heard the news. While he didn’t identify the location of the raid or the name of the defendant charged, Mauga said when rifles and other weapons are found, “then we know for sure that American Samoa is seriously impacted.”

He added, “We all know that anywhere there is illegal drugs, there are also illegal weapons, and let's not forget it.”

“If something serious happens and we don’t step up — as leaders, as citizens and as people living on this land — then you have to ask the question, ‘Could I have done something to stop it'?” he asked.

“I’ll ask you to take a strong stand,” he said. “If you’re a chief in a village, there are village rules, utilize them, don’t be afraid of using the rules.”

“Do what needs to be done” in the village, impose fines on families that break those rules, he concluded.