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Samoa govt considering tougher penalties for drug traffickers

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's government says it's considering increasing criminal penalties for drug trafficking following a recent spate of intercepted drugs at the border.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said on TV3 Samoa that there was a need to reconsider penalties of drug convictions.

His remarks follow a seizure last week at the wharf where Police confiscated 900 grams of methamphetamine.

A December bust found some 500 grams of the same drug, which the Ministry of Customs and Revenue said was a record haul for law enforcement.

"This is not a new issue and under the current law, it says that a fine (of) up to $100,000 (can be imposed). The key word is 'up to' meaning there can be no fine," Tuilaepa said.

The Prime Minister said there's a need to toughen the penalties in order to align Samoan legislation with that of other countries around the world.

Last week, a member of parliament, Fa'aulusau Rosa Duffy-Stowers, called for tougher prison sentences, even as much as life sentences, for those found guilty of drug offences.