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Vehicle Stopped at Police Checkpoint for Fake NEOC Pass Leads to Drug Related Arrest

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NEOC Authorised Vehicle passes are signed by the Chairman and numbered for control and ease of identification.

26 January 2022, Apia Samoa. Two people were arrested on Tuesday morning for possession of drug utensils after being stopped at a police checkpoint where it was also discovered they had been using a fake NEOC Authorised Vehicle Pass to defy the nation-wide lockdown.

Deputy Police Commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said a man and a woman, not a couple, have been charged in relation to glass pipes used for smoking ice, found inside the vehicle.  The pair were stopped by a police patrol in the Lotopa area on Tuesday morning.

“The male was a known offender, and that raised immediate alarms on the validity of the NEOC vehicle pass,” said Auapaau. “When the team contacted head office to verify, it was confirmed the pass was a fake.”

Aupaau says the alleged offenders will also face the full extent of the law for breaching State of Emergency (SOE) Orders.

The NEOC Authorised Vehicle Passes have been issued to essential service workers from the public and private sectors. All official passes are signed by the NEOC Chair, with a numbering systems that is linked to the license plate of the vehicle for ease of tracking and verification.

Samoa entered into Alert Level 3 nation-wide 48-hour lockdown on Saturday 22nd January when covid-positive cases reached 15 – all isolated passengers from a Brisbane repatriation flight. Lockdown was extended for a further 72 hours when five nurses assigned to the isolation ward of Motootua National Hospital, returned positive tests.

A further 6 confirmed cases last night took the national count to 26, all in isolation with the country being assured that there is no evidence of a community transmission.

The current 72-hour lockdown is due to end 6pm tomorrow, Thursday 27th January 2022.  Samoa Prime Minister Hon Fiame Noami Mataafa is due to give a statement at 6pm this afternoon.