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Samoa police seize marijuana, methamphetamine and firearms

drugs being traded at the market
Sources: RNZ Pacific & Samoa Observer

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Samoa’s deputy police commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tia'i-Keti says police are concerned that drugs were found at Fugalei Market just a short distance away from an all girl's primary school.

Samoa Observer reports police conducted three drug raids in Apia last week netting marijuana and methamphetamine along with drug utensils and from one location cash and firearms were also seized.

Drug sniffing dogs were used at the market and soon found marijuana and methamphetamine but not the owners who must have dropped the drugs when they saw the police team.

Reports from the public of drugs being traded at the market prompted the raid according to Papalii who added they will again reopen an office at the market to monitor the illicit drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, three individuals were arrested at the other two raid locations where marijuana and methamphetamine were found.

A 31-year-old man of Fasitoouta and Faleasi'u was arrested during a police investigation of a domestic dispute at a home at Tulaele after methamphetamine and utensils were discovered.

Two men aged 38 and 33 were also arrested at a home in Alafua and jointly charged with possession of narcotics and have been remanded in custody until 11 March 2024.

Papalii has confirmed that despite not finding suspects during a raid, drugs were spotted by the K9 including marijuana and methamphetamine.

Papalii stressed to The Observer during the interview that this is a big concern and that police will set up their office again at the market to monitor this.

"The K9 found what appears to be methamphetamine and marijuana but we could not identify the suspects who own them but they threw the drugs at the back where the K9 found these drugs as they must've known that we were coming," she said.

"The K9 went and sat on the drugs and that's how we found out and there were also eyewitnesses so investigations continue and we have been given a spot at the market once again and we will set up our office there again.

"We had an office there before but I'm not sure what happened to it but we met with the boss of the market and got an okay that they will provide  space for us."

Papalii emphasized that this is not the first time a drug raid was conducted at this market. She said the drugs could make it to children as well and the ultimate goal of the market is to sell vegetables and crops not drugs.

"We're looking from the fact that the goal of the market itself is to sell vegetables but because we've been receiving several calls from members of the public on this, we will be putting more effort in keeping an eye out for this," Papalii added.