Case of Former Customs Officer Referred to District Court


The charge of importation of prohibited goods in Samoa under the Customs Act 2014 carries a maximum penalty of 6 years and therefore a matter for the Distrct Court.

During criminal mentions thus week in the Supreme Court of Samoa, former customs officer Pueleo Sefululua Peseta was granted bail and his case transferred to the District Court.

Peseta was arrested and charged in early February for the alleged importation of methamphetamine and premium quality marijuana confiscated at the border.

Methamphetamine and quality grade cannabis taken off the streets by Police and Customs before Christmas last year.

Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma confirmed the charge is under the jurisdiction of the District Court.

The maximum penalty for importing prohibited goods under the Samoa Customs Act 2014, is 6 years imprisonment while the Supreme Court of Samoa deals with crimes that carry a maximum penalty of 7 years.

There is no section of the Samoa Customs Act that deals with the importation of drugs specifically.

Peseta is charged with importing 900 grams of methamphetamine seized by the Ministry of Customs and Revenue (MCR) and handed to Samoa Police.

The 900 grams of “ice” discovered Tuesday 2nd February 2021, were split into two packages, vacuum-packed, and concealed inside two boxes of cereal.

When this second consignment arrived, Police were still investigating the December 2020 drug bust, where joint efforts of the K9 Unit and MPP intercepted and seized more than 500grams of methamphetamine.

Both consignments were packed in similar fashion, concealed within boxes of popular American cereal.

Left: Image of Jan 2021 drug bust. Right: Image of Dec 2020 drug bust.

The combined consignments being about 1,400 grams is estimated at more than $1.4 million tala and recorded as the largest methamphetamine bust in Samoan history.

Marieta H Ilalio