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FSM intercepts smuggled weapons and ammunition in Yap, Pohnpei

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) —  In September and October, the Federated States of Micronesia’s  Customs and Tax Administration intercepted two separate consignments of illegal weaponry, which have since been confiscated and handed over to the FSM National Police for investigation.

In September 2020, 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. The officers 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. The officers discovered 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

The September and October discoveries of illegal weapons and ammunition imports come after two relevant cases involving the illegal importation of ammunition have been heard by the Pohnpei State Supreme Court, with both cases prosecuted by the FSM Department of Justice.

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

 

 

 

Bow and arrows in a case, located in a shipping container in Yap State in September 2020.

 

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

 

 

Ammunition discovered in a shipping container in Pohnpei in October 2020. FSMIS photos

Eugene Amor, secretary of the Department of Finance & Administration, of which the Division of Customs & Tax Administration falls under, said “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.” The secretary emphasized 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.”

Following a briefing on the subject, David W. Panuelo, president of the FSM, applauded the Division of Customs & Tax Administration for its capable efforts in keeping the FSM safe from dangerous and illegal imports, and the FSM Department of Justice for its thorough and capable investigations and prosecutions.

“The FSM is a nation of laws,” President 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.”

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