Drug suspects enter pleas

Several suspects in a $10 million drug bust in Faleatiu raid have entered pleas to charges against them, with one woman even asking to be kept in custody so she can be with her husband. 

Senerita Maluolefale Asi Malu had asked the Court if she can remain in custody after her husband Kilifi Lealaitagomoa Palau was opposed bail by prosecution. 

The Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su'a, did not oppose a bail application from Ms. Malu's lawyer. 

The request follows Ms. Malu’s change of plea to guilty to three charges of possession of narcotics and a move to withdraw her bail application.

Earlier on Monday, defence lawyer, Josefina Fuimaono Sapolu entered a not guilty plea to all the charges against Ms. Malu and her husband Mr. Palau.  

But Ms. Malu raised her hand in Court saying she has agreed to accept the charges if she could also be detained in custody by consent. 

She will be sentenced on January 27 next year.

Her husband, Mr. Palau, is due to appear in Court on Tuesday for the hearing of his bail application. 

Other charged suspects to have separately entered pleas include: Tuanai Ioka, Fotu Baby Sanele and Parataiso Toailoa. 

Mr. Ioka entered a guilty plea to four charges of cultivating 10,964 prohibited plants, possession of ammunition and firearms after he was unable to get a lawyer paid by the Government. The firearms include: a 12 gauge rifle, one .22 rifle, and one .303 revolver.

He is remanded in custody until January 27 next year for sentencing. 

Mr. Ioka had asked for legal aid but was told by Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke that he is not entitled to claim it under the scheme due to the seriousness of his alleged offending. 

Mr. Sanele, Mr. Toailoa and Mr. Manuleleua pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of narcotics, possession of ammunition, possession of prohibited utensils and carelessly driving a taxi at a Faleatiu road.  

The hearing for the suspects that have pleaded not guilty to possession of unlawful weapons and marijuana from the Faleatiu raid is scheduled to take place on September 14 next year. 

Police arrested and charged 11 people during the November raid, which Police said represented the largest in Samoan history, including two couples. 

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