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25 November 2020

Further charges in pipeline for cannabis grower

Friday 11 May 2018 | Published in Crime


Further charges in pipeline for cannabis grower
Over 60 bags containing cannabis were seized during the raid. PHOTO: Cook Islands Police. 18051028.

A Tupapa man arrested for cultivating cannabis appeared briefly before Justice of the Peace Georgina Williams in the Cook Islands High Court yesterday.

Samuel Kautai faces a number of charges relating to the cultivation of cannabis, including possession of a drug utensil, possession of cannabis, and using a premises to commit an offence.

The charges come after the Cook Islands police executed a search warrant on Kautai’s house and property in Tupapa late last month. A number of cannabis plants, some over two metres tall, were seized in the raid.

Police also found drug-related utensils, dried cannabis, potted cannabis plants, and over 60 bags containing cannabis during their search.

Police say more charges are yet to be laid against Kautai. They say this raid should serve as a warning for people possessing a “broader knowledge” of drug-related activity and the use of private property for drug-related activities. A single charge of cultivating cannabis carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

Last week a woman from Arorangi had her non-custodial sentence overturned and was sentenced to serve sixth months’ imprisonment for the cultivation of cannabis.

“The sentence imposed was clearly inadequate and we would be failing in our duty if we did not allow this” the appeal read.

The police stated that they will be pursuing “maximum sentences” for people who are convicted on similar charges in the future.

Kautai’s case was adjourned for call over on May 17 and will be heard before a visiting judge. An application for bail is expected to be made at that time. He has been remanded in custody until the next hearing.