Drug charges against Vietnamese woman withdrawn

Charges of importing hard drugs into Samoa, including heroin, filed against a Vietnamese woman were withdrawn in the Supreme Court on Monday. 

An Tran Thi had pleaded not guilty to charges against her including two counts of possession of narcotics, namely heroin and racemethorphan; two counts of bribery of law enforcement officers and one count of importation of narcotics. 

The Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su’a, withdrew the drug charges against Thi while the bribery charges still stand. 

She did not give grounds to why the charges are being withdrawn. 

Ms. Thi's Defence lawyer, Alex Su’a, had then asked to substitute an earlier not guilty plea to the bribery charges to guilty.

Mr. Su’a also sought the return of his client’s valuables including a cell phone and documents that were seized, following her arrest.

He added the defendant does not wish to vary her bail application as requested earlier. 

Magele responded that the prosecution would need to confirm what items were seized by Police. 

Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke granted the request by prosecution to withdraw the drug charges against Ms. Thi by leave and to proceed with two remaining charges. 

He also ordered the matter to be transferred to the District Court as it is in the jurisdiction of the lower  Court. 

The matter has been adjourned to be called in the District Court mention on Tuesday. 

The Vietnamese woman was arrested at the Faleolo International airport earlier this year for allegedly importing hard drugs in the form of pills.

Police had alleged the suspected pills had an estimated value of $400,000. 

The 24-year-old defendant was also charged for allegedly attempting to bribe a Police Officer on the day of the arrest. 

Since she was charged and arrested, Ms. Thi has been living at a hotel in Matautu. 

Ms. Thi was travelling from Singapore to American Samoa via Fiji and Samoa in late July this year, when she was detained at the airport.

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