No arrests yet over drug seizure

To date Police have made no arrests following the seizure of drugs worth $500,000 at the border last month. 

Ministry of Customs and Revenue agents intercepted two parcels from the United States containing methamphetamine and marijuana with an estimated street value of $500,000.

The seizure occured on 22 December last year. 

But Police sources have confirmed that there have been no arrests following the interception operation. 

It is unclear if Police are investigating any suspects in the case. Attempts to secure a comment from the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, on the matter were unsuccessful. 

But the Minister of Police, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, told the Samoa Observer that investigations were continuing into the matter. 

During a press conference following the seizure, the Ministry of Revenue and Customs Commissioner, Matafeo Avalisa Viali-Fautuaali'i, said that responsibility for the matter had been handed over to Police. 

Matafeo said the interception came after the agency received a tip that drugs were mixed with items exported to Samoa in a container from the American state of California. 

The Ministry hailed the joint seizure operation by the Customs Border Unit, Police, and K9 as one of the largest international methamphetamine interceptions in the country’s history. 

“This massive seizure is a clear indication of what law enforcement agencies can do when we combine forces,” Matafeo said.

“It prevented over half a million [tala] worth of deadly drugs from entering our country thus saving countless lives from addiction and overdose. 

“The marijuana [was] concealed inside seven [containers of] laundry powder and one can of Stax [potato chips] whilst the methamphetamine was concealed inside one box of cereal.

“The more than 14-hour operation took place at the Customs Headquarters at Matautu-tai. 

“As both Ministries’ investigations are ongoing, specific details on names of shipping company, shipping agent and importer(s) are withheld at the moment,” the Police and Customs Ministeries said in a joint statement. 

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