Village vows to tackle marijuana trade
Satapuala Mayor Vaili Mimita says they will work with the Police to address the illegal drug trade issue after a raid last year netted 4,000 marijuana plants.
The Mayor told the Samoa Observer in an interview that the village is keen to ensure this year is peaceful and trouble-free.
He said to achieve this goal the village council and the chiefs have agreed to work together with the authorities and will be on the lookout for marijuana dealers and growers.
"We'll put in more effort in carrying out this mission to make sure that families in the village as well as the whole of the nation are safe and avoid problems caused by marijuana," Mr Mimita said in a telephone interview.
"[Like] any other village, we penalise those involved in drugs and alcohol and it is used illegally and that's what we'll emphasize more on."
On the question of young people in the village, Mr. Mimita said they will work on improving their behaviour to maintain peace and love between the families.
"Youth are tomorrow's future and we shall start teaching and guiding our children to the right path so they can lead better villages and a better Samoa in the future when they grow up," he said.
Last December the mayor disputed reports by the Police that 4,000 marijuana plants were confiscated during a raid on plantations in the village.
According to the Mayor, only some of the young people who were detained for their alleged involvement in the illegal activity were from Satapuala.
He also claimed that the illegal drugs were discovered by armed Police officers in the Faleatiu area and not Satapuala.
He said the Satapuala Village Council did its own investigation after the Police raid and concluded that the marijuana plants were discovered on Faleatiu land.
“It never passed [through] the lands of Satapuala,” he said.
“After the raid, when the [Police] officers went back to Apia on that same day, the Village Council conducted their own investigation on where the raid was."
The mayor said they visited the Police Headquarters in Apia to correct Police reports but did not receive a proper response.
“We were referred to different consultants and we wanted to speak to the Commissioner directly but we were given the same [...no response],” he said at that time.
Speaking at the Police Headquarters after the raid last year, Fuiavailiili said officers reached the top of a mountain using a new access road in Faleatiu and Satapuala.
He said the Police seized 4000 marijuana plants during the armed raid on four plantations deep in the mountains.