Alan Ah Mu
APIA: MONDAY 13 JANUARY 2014: Methamphetamine or ice found in a can of Pringles and two glass tubes uncovered in another can of the snack product led to a 18-month jail term for a businessman today.
Scott Robert Thomas Barlow, 39, of Tulaele, is to undertake treatment or courses for drug addiction as directed by Probation Service after his release.
Barlow is also subject to a supervision order for three years after his release.
The contents of the Pringles cans were uncovered by Customs officers during an inspection of a container of goods shipped from the United States for his clothing boutique on 23 April last year.
The officers were suspicious as Barlow appeared to be looking for a particular item and was watched carefully.
“He retrieved a can of Pringles, shook it against his ear, placed it back on the bin and sat on that bin,” Judge Pierre Slicer says in his decision.
Upon discovery of the contents of the cans the Police were called in and found in the container four more glass tubes.
A further search by Police found half a joint in Barlow’s motor vehicle and in his home one glass pipe and 0.4 grams of marijuana leaves.
The ice found in the Pringles can was 14.38 grams in volume and residue of the drug was found in two glass pipes.
Barlow pleaded guilty to possession of: unlawful utensils contrary to the Narcotics Act 1967; cannabis and leaves wrapped in a newspaper; unlawful utensils – six glass pipes; cannabis and cigarettes of marijuana; and possession of methamphetamine.
“The defendant had obtained the amphetamine and the two glass utensils in the United States and consigned them to himself,” Justice Slicer says.
It was for personal use, the Judge says.
“The Court accepts that Barlow was and remains a drug addict. Addiction is both a legal and medical problem,” he says.
Justice Slicer says the Court’s aim was twofold, one to impose jail as deterrence and secondly a regime of rehabilitation.
The defendant has lived in Samoa since age two and completed his education at Form 7 in New Zealand, where he was born.
“He was raised in a good family and had all the benefits of financially secure parents.”
Married with two young children to whom he has been a caring father he was also described by his wife as a hard working and responsible husband.
With a good work history in the United States and Samoa, Barlow set up a successful business with his wife in 2004.
“He is well regarded by others in the community, including his pastor, a medical practitioner and members of the business community.”
“There is compelling evidence showing that he has been addicted to drugs over a long period of time.”
Amongst the mitigating factors was the enormous economic pressure the defendant was under after the death of his mother and an acknowledgement of his drug problem and remorse.
Probation Service has prepared a rehabilitation plan after approaching the Coral Reef Academy, an institute that offers rehabilitation and treatment for drug addicts.
Parts of the plan can be implemented while the defendant is in prison.