A cache of drugs with a street value $200 million has turned up on the shores of Tonga and Fiji and Samoa is in danger of getting entangled in a drug war.
Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, sounded the warning recently in response to questions on drug incidences in the neighboring islands of Fiji, Tonga and American Samoa.
“Drugs in the Pacific have been here and we are all trying to eliminate the drug problem,” he said.
The Police Commissioner indicated that there are a lot of crime that is transnational in nature, with narcotics heading the list and it is already coming into the region.
“And that’s what is facing Pago Pago and definitely we don’t want that in Samoa,” he added.
The issue is critical that the next Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police conference – to be held in American Samoa – will focus on drugs.
“Samoa is definitely not immune from the drug problems,” he added.
He commended the American Samoa Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Le’i Sonny Thompson, for the active role in eliminating drugs in the territory, if the recent raids in the territory – where significant amount of methamphetamine was uncovered – is any indication.
“I’m very concern, being the chair of the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre, we gather all the statistics of what’s happening, there is a big emerging drug issue and Samoa is right in the middle.
“It’s a drug war, and essentially its coming here in Samoa. Discovered recently were 103 kilo of cocaine found floating on Fiji waters and another 60 kilo of the same type of cocaine washed ashore in Tonga.
“And were’ talking about $200,000 million is the cash value and it is a concern. It’s hitting the shores of Tonga, Fiji and Pago Pago and that means it’s heading here too,” he said.
Fuiavaili’ili indicated that Samoa oversees the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre which is to Samoa’s advantage.
“The Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre is stationed here in Samoa and we’re getting all the knowledge from the center and we are getting all the information as well.
“So we are pulling all the information in to help each Island nation including New Zealand and Australia. And of course I will use that knowledge in Samoa to protect our people,” he added.
The statistics gathered indicate that transnational crime will continue.
“But that does not mean we will step aside and let the cartels come into our Pacific Islands and use our resources, our oceans for their profit. That will not happen.
“That is why we have all teamed up with the Pacific Islands, we have the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre and the Pacific Transnational Crime Network, we share information and we share data to combat this problem,” the Police Commissioner added.