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APIA, Samoa (Oct. 26, 2002 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---A former Samoan policeman has been remanded in custody in American Samoa, charged with smuggling a large quantity of marijuana.

The marijuana was reportedly discovered by customs officials inside a cardboard box underneath cooked food when the ferry Lady Naomi arrived at Pago Pago.

American Samoa's acting head of customs, Glen Lefiti, told Samoa News it was perhaps one of the largest marijuana shipments intercepted in American Samoa recently.

On numerous occasions in recent years, travelers have been caught either by officers in Samoa or in American Samoa trying to smuggle drugs.

The situation has got so bad that Lady Naomi is sometimes referred to as "Lady Marijuana."

Reports from American Samoa indicate that the drug problem there is spinning out of control, especially among young people.

The 35-year-old former police officer reportedly claimed that the box was handed to him by someone at the Apia wharf. He said it was for delivery to a relative of this person who was waiting in Pago Pago.

The suspect, whose identity is yet to be released, was part of a rugby team. It was traveling to participate in a tournament during American Samoa's Mosooi festival.

For additional reports from the Samoa Observer, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa Observer.

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

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