Police chiefs tackle drug trafficking in Pacific

Tackling drug trafficking across the Pacific will top the agenda for a regional gathering of Police top brass beginning in American Samoa tomorrow. 

Police Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil will lead a Samoan delegation to the U.S. territory for the Pacific Island Chief of Police (P.I.C.P.) conference.

Some 21 national Chiefs of Police and Police Commissioners have been confirmed to attend the main day of the conference on Wednesday; senior delegations from international organisations will also attend. 

“[The Pacific] has seen an increase in the use and shipment of both methamphetamine and cocaine. To address this problem, the Pacific Police Chiefs are committed to cross jurisdictional co-operation and working together,” said Superintendent Carl McLennan, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Secretariat.

The conference is scheduled to start tomorrow and developing opportunities for cooperation between police forces across the region in the name of tackling transnational drug crime is a top priority. 

“It’s a week long conference and the main focus for this conference is drug trafficking and it's great timing for the American Samoa Department of Public Safety (A.S.D.P.S.) to host, given the drug problem we are facing," said A.S.D.P.S. Deputy Commissioner, Falana’ipupu Ta’ase Sagapolutele in an interview with the Samoa Observer over the phone.

“We need all the help we can get from our counterparts".

Falana’ipupu who is from Lalomanu, Aleipata said the first part of the conference is the P.I.C.P. Women’s Advisory Network will start tomorrow. 

“It is the 16th PICP WAN Conference from 19-21 August 2019. The theme for the 2019 conference is Shaping our future WAN: 2020-2024 providing an opportunity for WAN Chairs to discuss and agree the 2020-2024 WAN Strategic Direction in a supportive and networking-rich environment,” said Falana’ipupu. 

“As indicated earlier American Samoa is facing a drug endemic and the Police are still tacking the issue on the daily basis". 

He said the annual forum through which collective P.I.C.P. decisions are made, strategic direction is set each year, and major law enforcement issues are discussed.

Last month, Samoa Authorities intercepted an estimated $400,000 tala worth of drugs at the Faleolo International Airport, in the possession of a Vietnamese woman who was heading to American Samoa. 

Director of American Samoa’s Homeland Security , Samana Ve’ave’a Samana, commended the authorities in Samoa for catching a Vietnamese woman who arrived from Fiji with her final destination being American Samoa.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Samana said the drug problem in American Samoa is “almost out of control” and to hear news that Samoan authorities have intercepted illegal drugs heading to the U.S. territory is commendable. 

Also in attendance for the conference will be Kim Jong Yang, president of Interpol; and Chief Paul Cell, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

In addition to the national law enforcement agencies presentations will be made by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

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