Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil led a Tactical Operations Squad raid in two locations today that resulted in seven arrests, confiscating marijuana plants worth over $160,000 tala, several illegal weapons and over two grand in cash.
Su’a said two locations in Fasitoo-Uta and Faleatiu were both hit up today in an operation involving 16 armed officers, 15 vehicles and drones.
“We’ve been getting complaints of marijuana sales and gunshots being heard in these areas,” said Su’a.
Holding up a 12-gauge rifle, the Police Chief said the weapon had been taken from the home people had called to complain about.
“We found this rifle at the very house that complainants said gunshots were being fired from,” said Su’a.
Su’a said the weapon was unregistered and was being used to scare people away from marijuana plantations.
He said another rifle, a 22 found deep into the mountains of Faleatiu may look old but was still lethal.
“This is another one, a 22, and although it’s old, it works. It can kill someone”.
“This is the same type of weapon used during those Afega shootings where two men were killed”.
“From the various homes we raided, all this money was also confiscated.. there’s about two thousand there all up,” said Su’a Fuiavailiili.
The Samoa Police have raided Faleatiu several times before and the Commissioner said this time, the plantations have moved even further inland and even higher up the mountains of Faleatiu. He also believes they are a drug ring who have now set up at Fasitoo-Uta.
“You have to be very determined to grow a plantation all the way up there. They must be making some good money,” said the Commissioner as he pointed to laptops, phones, as well as utensils and pipes used for ice, all brought in during the raid.p
The Commissioner conveyed his concern about the involvement of youth and said some youth seemed to have been trained to know what to do and rushed to flush marijuana down the toilet.
“Theyre young and they’re being coerced, and these operations are family based and everyone is involved and thry seemed to know exactly what to do,” said Su’a.
The Police Commissioner thanked his team of police officers both men and women involved in the raid; those who climbed the steep terrain to get to the locations as well as those in the background coordinating.
“Thank you also to FESA. We always have FESA as an important partner on stand by incase we need to provide medical attention straight away”.
Su’a says the fact that guns are being used to guard the plantations means the dangers are very real for the Samoa Police Service.
“We will not be deterred. There are so many other responsibilities for the Police but we also have to do this important part of our work to make sure we keep our families and Samoa safe”.