Smuggling of hard drugs alarms Samoa Cabinet Minister
Apia, SAMOA — A senior Cabinet Minister has expressed grave concerns about the growing presence of hard drugs in Samoa, especially methamphetamine, which is commonly referred to as “ice.”
The Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, is even more alarmed about how the drugs are being brought into Samoa. He suspects that most of it is being smuggled through the borders.
“Our borders have never been so vulnerable until now,” he said, “especially with American Samoa which is in close proximity and they are battling a drug war.”
The Minister pointed to a number of recent violent incidents where drug use was identified as the source.
“There have been strange and unusual incidences occurring lately and we find out late that the person was high on ice. And this is alarming and we must act collectively to eradicate this drug from within Samoa,” he said.
As the Minister of Customs and Border protection, Tialavea is frank about the challenges they face. He said the Government does not have enough resources and manpower to fully protect Samoa’s borders. For instance, there are only two K9 dogs to cover all the entrance points to Samoa.
“The drug detector dogs are at the airport but not all the time as we can’t have the K9 working one shift after another, they must rest as well,” he said.
“And it cost $200,000 for one K9. We station the dogs at the airports and sometimes at the wharf and hardly at the Post Office.”
Tialavea said all these points are potential entry points for drugs.
The Minister added they are still waiting on the World Bank to release the funds to purchase the cargo scanner.