18 Apr 2003

Samoan family file suit over death of son in an Arizona prison

3:37 pm on 18 April 2003

The family of a Samoan prison inmate who died in an Arizona prison claims in a lawsuit that the death was caused when drugs he was smuggling for a prison gang burst in his stomach.

According to the suit filed in Hawaii this week, 24 year old Iulai Amani, died of a heart attack on April 15th, 2001, at the Florence Correctional Centre in Arizona.

The suit attributes the cause of death to a drug overdose which was consistent with drug smuggling under the direction of a Hawaii gang that controlled the prison.

That gang is the United Samoa Organisation or USO.

The family's lawyer says Amani did not have a history of drug use but was used by the gang as a mule to smuggle drugs.