The Assistant Commissioner of the Samoa Prisons Correctional Service, Ulugia Niuia Ulugia
By Rula Su’a – Vaai
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 18 JANUARY 2018: The Samoa Prisons Correctional Services – SPCS authorities are investigating how marijuana is being smuggled into prison.
The investigation according to Assistant Commissioner Ulugia Niuia Ulugia led to the escape of prisoner Lagalaga Misiluki, who was returned by family members last night together with 22 marijuana cigarettes that he took when he escaped from jail.
Ulugia said the authorities suspect that marijuana could have been smuggled by visitors, prison officers or staff members, and drop offs where certain packages could have been dropped off at certain spots.
Ulugia said Lagalaga was suspected of hiding marijuana in the kitchen when he was rostered for the morning cooking. The officers were to do a search of Lagalaga when he ran off and jumped over the fence taking 22 marijuana cigarettes with him.
“So we are looking at means where we think marijuana could have been smuggled in, including searching and investigating the officers and staff members first then extend it to visitors and the possibility of drop offs.”
Ulugia explains they are searching every vehicle and visitor before they are allowed in to see their relatives.
“The difficulty we are facing is that we do not have the number of officers to do the work. We are under staffed and there is no capacity of the staff to do the full search.”
“There are about 50 visitors coming in their vehicles, and we cannot search each vehicle because there will be a hold up and will give families less hours to see their relatives.”
“So we do random search of vehicles and visitors that we suspect.”
However, Ulugia is optimistic that there will be no more prisoner escapes once they move to the new prison under construction at Tanumalala.
“I am confident it will not happen again, given the latest security system that will be installed at the new prison.”
Lagalaga Misiluki is back behind bars, and will face extra charges for escaping from prison. Meanwhile, Uili Manuleleua who escaped with three others before Christmas is still at large.
“We suspect that he is hiding at places where there are no families living,” said Ulugia.
He acknowledged the assistance of Lagalaga Misiluki’s family and police in turning him in.