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Trial of man accused of importing ice begins

The hearing of a man accused and charged for importing methamphetamine, better known as ice, started on Tuesday in the Supreme Court. 

Tafuna Tauilalo faces three charges: one count of importation of narcotics namely meth, possession of narcotics and importation of prohibited substance. 

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

In April last year, Tauilalo who resides in Alaska, United States and has roots in Foailuga Savai'i visited Samoa for his mother's funeral.  

At the time, Police allegedly discovered 26.6 grams of meth inside one of the luggage belonging to the accused when he arrived at the Faleolo International Airport.  

Police issued a statement at the time calculating the discovered meth to have a street value of $60,000. 

Supreme Court Judge, Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke presided. Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Fuifui Ioane was the prosecutor while Unasa Iuni Sapolu was the defense counsel.

The first witness was Scientific Research of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) Principal Research Scientist, Luanda Epa.

She gave evidence that she tested a sample of 2.175grams being given to the office by Police for laboratory test.

“The results of my test confirmed that there is methamphetamine in the white crystals that was presented in the envelope received,” Ms. Epa told the Court.

 The second witness to give evidence was Phillip Reti, also from S.R.O.S.

He received the envelop on 24 April 2018 with the sample that was tested by Ms. Epa.

“I did not open the envelope because I am not qualified to test it,” he said.

“What I did is register the envelope and I was only told the envelope contained ice in it.”

The first police officer to take the witness stand was Corporal Nepa Papali’i, of the Ministry of Police's Forensic Division.

Corporal Papali’i said she took photos of the items in the matter.

“There were black items wrapped inside a clear plastic bag,” she told the Court.

“The black items appear to be ladies socks and inside the socks was a ziplock plastic bag.

“The photos were taken at Police station in the Narcotic’s office.”

The three-day trial continues today. 

Prosecution is calling 17 witnesses which includes Police and Customs officer.

About six witnesses from prosecution have already testified. 

Tauilalo works for a fishing company in Alaska.

The Court granted him permission to leave the jurisdiction prior to his trial and to return for his trail which is set for this week. 

He is remanded on bail. 

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