Mulinuu Courthouse, Apia Samoa; translated from FaaSamoa. It was a definite “no” from Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma when an inmate accused of dealing drugs at Tanumalala prison asked for name suppression.
Justice Roma told Faasao Peseta, from Pu’apu’a Savai that the public must know about these serious allegations and noted with concern the increasing number of inmates coming before the Courts – facing additional charges while serving time.
The prisoner pleaded guilty to all charges filed against him. The Court heard that Peseta was found with marijuana leaves as well as marijuana joints already prepared and set for sale, on two separate occasions.
On 16 January 2023 Peseta was found with two packets containing marijuana leaves and seeds. One weighed 27.1 grams and the other 8.28 grams. Police also found 34 marijuana seeds in one packet and 108 in another packet wrapped in tissue paper.
Less than seven days later on 22 January 2023 Peseta was again found with a packet containing 191 marijuana joints already rolled and set for sale.
A second prisoner appeared before Justice Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma during Monday morning criminal mentions, also charged with possession of narcotics.
Faofua Koko, 62, of Levi Saleimoa also pleaded guilty before Justice Roma to possession of marijuana joints weighing 3.4 grams in one packet and 2.24 grams in another.
Last December another Tanumalala prisoner appeared before the Courts charged with possession of marijuana.
Sefo Amituanai pleaded not guilty and is denying that on 20 January 2023 he was in possession of 27 marijuana seeds and 34 branches totalling 13.48 grams.
In mid January 2023 Deputy Police Commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti said Samoa Police were investigating and cracking down on the issue of drugs inside Tanumalala prison.
The two prisoners who entered guilty pleas will be sentenced in March 2023.