29 May 2008

American Samoa customs haul in hundreds of carton of contraband cigarettes

7:36 pm on 29 May 2008

Nearly 400 cartons of cigarettes have been confiscated by American Samoan customs agents during searches of fishing vessels within the last several weeks.

It's suspected that the cigarettes were being smuggled in for sale in local stores.

The American Samoa Treasurer, Gaea Perefoti Failautusi, says that some of the brand names seized form fishing vessels are banned in the territory because they do not have proper labelling.

The Treasurer said it's long been suspected that cigarettes and liquor are being smuggled into the territory on fishing vessels and sold to local stores.

He says it's understandable that they'd find a handful of cartons for use by the captain and crew but when there's 50 cartons, it's highly suspicious.

Gaea says he is seeking guidance from the Attorney General's Office on whether the owners or the captains should be charged for smuggling contraband.