FSM Customs intercepts smuggled weapons and ammo

Posted on Oct 16 2020

Bow and arrows in a case found in shipping container in Yap in September 2020. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

PALIKIR, Pohnpei—The Customs and Tax Administration of the Federated States of Micronesia government intercepted two separate consignments of illegal weaponry in September and October, with the items seized and handed over to the FSM National Police for investigation.

In September, two Customs officers from the Customs Field Office in Yap State were carrying out a routine physical inspection of containers at the Waab Commercial Dock and came across undeclared boxes of gun parts, as well as a bow and arrows.

In October 2020, two Customs officers from the Customs Field Office in Pohnpei State were carrying out a routine physical inspection of a container in Kolonia when they discovered 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

These discoveries came after two cases involving the illegal importation of ammunition were heard by the Pohnpei State Supreme Court, with both cases prosecuted by the FSM Department of Justice.

Gun parts found in shipping container in Yap in September 2020.

The first such case occurred in August 2020, wherein Quleen Saimon was convicted and sentenced for illegally importing ammunition in a passenger’s checked-in luggage. The second such case occurred in September 2020, with Watson Panuel being convicted and sentenced for the illegal importation of ammunition through the FSM Post Office.

“I encourage all businesses and individuals to abide by the law with regards to their imports, as our Customs Officers are monitoring these imports carefully,” said Department of Finance & Administration Secretary Eugene Amor, which has jurisdiction over the Division of Customs & Tax Administration. He said that “all of these cases reflect the cooperative work being carried out by Customs, the FSM National Police, and the FSM Attorney General, to protect our FSM borders against dangerous and illegal imports.”

FSM president David W. Panuelo applauded the division for their capable efforts in keeping the FSM safe from dangerous and illegal imports, and the FSM Department of Justice for their thorough and capable investigations and prosecutions.

“FSM is a nation of laws,” Panuelo said. “One of the most elemental roles any government plays is to keep its citizens and residents safe from internal and external threats, whether those threats are either invisible or abstract, such as COVID-19 or socio-economic inequities, or highly visible and concrete, such as illegal weapons and ammunition. Life is more than stressful enough for our citizens who are dealing with the effects of economic hardship during the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a society, we don’t need, want, or deserve to have such visible and concrete threats to our peace, unity, and liberty, and so I applaud our Customs officers for their diligence in their duty to protecting our country.” (PR)

Ammunition discovered in a shipping container in Pohnpei in October 2020

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