Former US Army personnel pleads not guilty to illegal drugs and weapons charges

Mr. Mualia Salamo in uniform photographed during the ANZAC parade commemorations

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: TUESDAY 21 JULY 2015: A former United States army personnel Mr. Mualia Salamo has pleaded not guilty to 5 charges brought against him under the Drugs & Narcotics and the possession of Unlawful and Illegal Weapons Act.

He is accused of allegedly bringing illegal drugs and weapons that were found in a container shipped into the country late last month.

According to police reports, Salamo’s name is on the document as the owner and receiver of the container.

Early this month, police after being tipped off by an informant, searched and seized the container where a variety of military weapons and drugs were allegedly found inside.

The accused entered a not guilty plea through his lawyer Leulua’i Tasi Malifa in Court yesterday.

Application to leave jurisdiction for overseas medical check-up
Leuluaialii requested the Court to release Salamo’s passport so he can travel overseas to get his medicine.

Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu was reluctant to grant the request and sought Prosecutions opinion.

Prosecution was quick to object even though they did not receive any application from the defense lawyer.

“The defendant is a former army servant and we do not want to take the risk that he might not return,” said prosecution.

Leulua’i pushed on and even gave CJ Patu a paper with the list of medicine his client needed.

“Are these medicine not found in Samoa?” asked CJ Patu.

“They have different milligrams and I need to have a checkup first before the medicines are ordered,” Salamo explained.

Prosecution pointed out that they were not satisfied because of the insufficient information regarding the defendants’ medical history.

CJ Patu agreed with prosecution saying the lack of documents supporting the defendants’ medical condition was an issue before setting a date to hear the application.

You need to provide a medical report to support the application, said CJ Patu.

The hearing is set down on the 6th August 2015 before Justice Va’ai and the defendant is ordered to continue on his bail condition.

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