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Weapons seizure brings $50,000 fine

The Faleula Village Council has levied a $50,000 fine against Ipuauro Uli Sagote and his family after Police confiscated 15 weapons, including high powered rifles and illegal handguns from Faleula. 

The High Chief of the accused family, Loau Solamalemalo K. Sio, confirmed the penalty in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

Last month the Police charged a 44-year-old, Ipuauro Uli Sagote, from Faleula and Lalomalava, with charges relating to the unlawful firearms, possession of paraphernalia associated with the manufacture and consumption of narcotics.

The charges followed a Police raid at Sagote’s residence in Faleula. 

“Our village has zero tolerance of any type of criminal activity and while we await the decision by the court; the fact remains that guns were found at his house in Faleula,” said Loau, who is also the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture. 

“This is not the first time he [Ipuauro] has been penalised by the village and our family will is scheduled to pay our $50,000 fine to the Village Council, next month,” 

According to Loau, the accused had been sanctioned before for gun-related matters. 

“He pulled a gun on one of the men in the village and it was reported to the Council and he was fined, but if this type of activity continues he will be ousted and he will no longer be allowed in Faleula,” said Loau. 

The Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, said last month that a number of unlawful weapons and ammunition, including seven pistols, nine rifles, 22 pieces of ammunition and other unlawful ammunition had been seized during the raid.

“All handguns are illegal here in Samoa and all the rifles are all unregistered rifles, but very dangerous. They may look old and rusted but these firearms work and they do kill,” the Commissioner said. 

“And not only that we found [live] ammunition and glass pipes used to smoke methamphetamine, or could be cocaine, or heroin and marijuana as well.

“Also recovered these are [scales] used to measure the weight of a drug before it is packaged and as you can see there are [empty] baggies and it is consistent with someone that’s selling and putting together hard drugs.” 

The Commissioner said this is not the first time the Police have raided the property: “And we have arrested the same individual for the third time for a [similar] type of offence.”

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