19 Feb 2019

American Samoa hits out at neighbours for drug blame

4:51 pm on 19 February 2019

American Samoa's Deputy Treasurer Keith Gebauer has rejected claims from Samoa that most of the hard drugs found there are brought in from the territory.

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Photo: RNZ/ Nick Monro

Mr Gebauer told the Samoa Observer that Samoa pointing the finger is not productive or effective.

He said the two Samoas need to work as a team to tackle the issue of drugs.

He was responding to comments by the Samoa's Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, who told Newsline Samoa that it was easy for fishing boats to sail to the territory and bring back drugs such as methamphetamine.

Tialavea said Samoan border control was working to the best of its abilities but more sniffer dogs were required for it to be successful.

Mr Gebauer, who oversees the Customs Division, acknowledges the flow and exchange of drugs and cash between the two Samoas is an growing threat to both and the greater region.