Police, Faleatiu drug raid and alcohol-related deaths

Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, and his men deserve to be commended for their bravery during the undercover operation at Faleatiu last Friday.

People who understand drugs and its movements in this country will appreciate just how difficult it has been for the Police to crack the drug operations in Faleatiu over the years.

Suffice to say, it has been a deathbed for Police officers in the past. Which means that last Friday’s Faleatiu mission could have easily gone down the same path. Thankfully, it didn’t.

Police Commissioner Fuiavailiili and his men instead safely executed what has been described as the biggest drug raid in the history of this country.

With more than 10,000 marijuana plants, firearms, methamphetamine, ammunition and cash seized, the raid is certainly a warning shot from the Police that they mean business in terms of their fight against drugs.

Ladies and gentlemen, for such a small country, the fact that such operations exist and are undertaken, is an extremely scary prospect. What’s even scarier is the fact that we’ve known for many years now that this has been going on in the forests of Faleatiu, and yet the Police have been struggling to penetrate the area. Until now.  

Let’s not forget that the Police did not just find drugs, guns and money. They even found a couple of runaway prisoners, who have been on Samoa’s most wanted list for some time now. The idea that they had stayed there for so long, obviously pointed to the fact they felt so comfortable and cocky in their hide out, they must have thought nothing could expose them.

Which is why we say Commissioner Fuiava and all the Police officers involved deserve to be commended for their bravery. Just imagine for a minute if these drugs and weapons had ended up on the streets. There is no doubt the impact would have been disastrous for many families, churches, villages and this country.

Following the raid, Commissioner Fuiava reminded that the mission of the Police is to protect Samoa.

“Officers know the danger they are in when they go out in [such an] operation. They had the guts to go out and protect our people, our community our tourists,” he said.

“The Officers do it to keep the public safe and I am grateful they have the courage to go up there. We can’t just sit around while the country is complaining and vendors and tourists are harassed by people selling marijuana.”

He also issued a renewed declaration of war on drugs and people behind such operations.

 “It’s not safe and this is not good for Samoa,” he said. “We can do without this kind of stuff, and there are a lot of crimes reported to Police because of this [kind of activity] from [Faleatiu].”

We couldn’t agree more with the Police Commissioner. As long as cannabis, hard drugs and illegal weapons exist, no one is safe. Which is why we commend the Police and their work today.

Our people need to feel secured in their own country. They need assurance that our streets don’t become awash with drugs and everything else that they represent.

In other words, the operation at Faleatiu last week will go a long way to assure our people about their safety and security in terms of drugs in Samoa.

Of course this is not going to be the end of it, and the Police know they are far from completely eliminating the threat drugs pose. But this is a massive leap forward that needs to be encouraged and commended.

Speaking of safety, another sad development that emerged last week were the tragic deaths of two men who died as a result of two separate car crashes in Upolu.

The first one was at Vailoa on Friday morning while the second crash was at Leulumoega only a day later. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and we pray for comfort in these difficult times.

The latest deaths, however, are only a handful of tragic crashes we’ve seen this year on our roads. Most times these cases are reported in the pages of this newspaper, and speed and alcohol appear to be the most common denominator.

Perhaps this is something Police Commissioner Fuiava and his good men could pay a lot more attention to, especially with the Festive Season around the corner.

Yes we agree that cannabis and drugs are bad and there is no place in Samoa for them.

But if the number of deaths (not just road fatalities) were tallied, we can confidently say that in any given year, more Samoans are killed as a result of alcohol-related incidents than drugs. The road toll this week is an example. 

Now there is something to think about today.

Have a pleasant Thursday Samoa, God bless!






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