3 Feb 2003

Samoan man to appear in court on drugs charge

5:27 pm on 3 February 2003

A 26-year-old Samoan man will appear in court tomorrow charged with possessing an illegal drug after allegedly being caught with 27 joints on board the ship Lady Naomi in Apia, awaiting departure for American Samoa.

The arrest is the latest in a police clampdown on marijuana smuggling to American Samoa, which has led to long routine checks of passengers on ships.

Samoa's Minister of Transport, Palusalue Fa'apo II, indicated at the last parliamentary session that overtime was now being paid to shipping staff since the clampdown.

He has reportedly said thorough checking is needed to stop the name of the shipping company and the country being tarnished by marijuana smugglers, after big busts last year uncovered attempts to shift large quantities of the drug into American Samoa.