‘Ice’ cases alarm Justice Vui Nelson

By Ilia L. Likou 27 March 2016, 12:00AM

A man deported from Hawaii has been given a 12-month jail sentence for a number of drug related charges – including the possession of ‘ice.’

Panama Tevaga, of Ululoloa and Leauva’a, was sentenced by Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, who expressed concerns about the prevalence of ice-related cases in Samoa.

“I have reflected on this because although the quantity of methamphetamine involved in this case is relatively small (3.2 grams), it is of concern to the court that the harder type narcotics seem to be taking root in our community,” Justice Vui said. 

“As evidenced by the increasing number of cases coming before the court involving Class A drugs in recent years.  It used to be that marijuana a Class B drug was the flavour of the day but that seems no longer the case. 

“Methamphetamine and cocaine are emerging as new players in the drug market.  Experience shows probably as pre-cursers of even harder and more addictive narcotics.”

Tevaga had pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine; possession of marijuana leaves and branches; possession of marijuana seeds and possession of utensils for use in narcotics.

According to the summary of facts, the 40-year-old is in a defacto relationship and runs a taxi business.  At the time of the offending he was renting premises at Ululoloa together with co-defendants who have pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

“All defendants were under suspicion by the police for being involved in distributing drugs.  And according to the summary of facts they moved from place to place,” Justice Vui ruling says.  

“In the early morning hours of 22 August 2015 the police raided the defendants premises or house at Ululoloa.  At that time only he was home. As a result of that raid was discovered the substances which are the subject of the four charges.”

Justice Vui reminded that “illicit narcotics is the scourge of many a society and Samoa is becoming no exception.  

“This has led to initiatives such as the Drug and Alcohol Court being set up and to Parliament doubling the maximum penalty for possession of marijuana and marijuana seeds from 7 to 14 years in prison.”  

By Ilia L. Likou 27 March 2016, 12:00AM

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