SOLOMON ISLANDS POLICE NAB DRUG DEALERS IN HONIARA MARKET

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 23, 2002 - Solomon Star/PINA Nius Online)---Two men were arrested yesterday after police officers caught them selling hundreds of dollars worth of marijuana at Honiara's Central Market.

The head of the Central Police Crime Investigations Department, Jacob Piturara, said this was one of the biggest hauls of drugs confiscated by the police so far.

Mr. Piturara said by the time the arrest took place in mid-morning the pair had already made SI$ 161 (US$ 30) from their sale.

He said over SI$ 700 (US$ 131) worth of drugs were yet to be sold when the police made the arrest.

Some of the confiscated marijuana came in small plastic packets while others came in rolls similar to tobacco.

Mr. Piturara said marijuana sellers and smokers must be warned that they face penalties if they are caught.

He said many people -- especially youths -- already are suffering from the side effects of the drug.

"It is a very dangerous drug and young people must be very careful as today the number of those suffering from this drug in the country is increasing rapidly," he said.

Mr. Piturara also warned tobacco smokers to be careful when making their purchases at the various tobacco stalls around town.

He said: "There are people selling marijuana around town, but people may not know this because the drug is wrapped like the tobacco rolls as well; so tobacco smokers should be careful when making their purchases."

Mr. Piturara thanked the public for assisting the police in this arrest.

"I appeal to the Honiara public to cooperate in informing the police of people selling or growing this illegal drug," Mr. Piturara said.

He said the pair is currently in custody awaiting further investigation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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