INVESTIGATING OFFICER TESTIFIES IN PROSTITUTION CASE
In its third day of the ongoing prostitution jury trial, the government called to the stand one of the four police officers who investigated the case against Lusia Tusi aka 'Sheila', a co-defendant in the prostitution case, which also implicates the owner of the Karaoke bar in Satala, Fa’asaina Park.
Sheila and Park are before a jury of four men and three women, and each is charged with promoting prostitution, second degree.
Prosecuting for the government is Assistant Attorney General, Jennifer Bargmann while representing Park is Fiti Sunia. Sheila is being represented by Assistant Public Defender Joel Shiver.
Police Officer Samantha Ramona Lam Yuen, told the court that on April 20, 2013 she interviewed Park. This was after the officer informed the defendant of the allegations filed against her by ILM and MW, the two waitresses who were hired from Samoa to work at the Karaoke Bar.
According to Officer Lam Yuen, Park verbally stated that ILM and MW were her nieces from Samoa whom she sponsors. She said that when the girls asked if they could go partying on the fishing boat, Park told them no. However, the girls got mad and that’s when Park slapped them.
During cross examination Sunia asked Lam Yuen if Park had in her written statement indicated that ILM and MW had frequently run away to attend parties held on the fishing vessels, and the officer responded yes. The hearing continues with the government calling on more investigators into his matter. It is likely the defense will start calling their witnesses tomorrow.
LATEST DRUG DEFENDANT GETS PRETRIAL CONFERENCE AND TRIAL DATE
Drug defendant Elsarina Lefatia, who is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning before Chief Justice Michael Kruse where she pleaded not guilty. The plea was entered through her attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Jessica Bargman.
The drug charge is a felony that is punishable with up to 20 years, and/or a fine of up to $20,000.
According on the government’s case, police went after a vehicle that was parked on the main highway after the driver had walked out and urinated on the main highway. Police were unsuccessful in the chase at that time. Court filings say, on that same day police came across the said vehicle, a black truck, and the police pulled the vehicle over. Lefatia was driving, and police saw in the car an opened beer can in the cup holder on the driver’s side.
It’s alleged that during an inventory of Lefatia’s bag, police discovered a large amount of cash along, drug paraphenalia and one cut up straw containing a crystalline substance. The substance was tested with Reagent Field Test and it tested positive as meth or “ice”.
Court filings say that Lefatia explained that the money found was from their business, Le Aute, and it was from the sale of alcohol beverages and people playing pool. She also told the police that she sells the glass pipes for $5 each and the ice that was in the bag would be sold at $10 each.
Lefatia’s pretrial conference is now scheduled for December 5, 2014 with a jury trial slated for July 15, 2015.
INMATE CHARGED FOR POSSESSION OF DRUGS IN JAIL SIGNS PLEA WITH ASG
Inmate Nathan Mauga, who is serving time in connection with a property damage case has been charged in a separate criminal matter. This time he’s facing a single count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, which carries a jail term of not less than five years, and up to ten years in jail, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
Court filings say DPS Vice and Narcotics Division was contacted following a jailhouse raid, as Correction Officers found what appeared to be marijuana, which later tested positive as such.
The Detectives investigating were informed by a Corrections Officer that he had been unlocking a Max Unit inside TCF to allow the inmates recreational time.
The Correction Officer further stated that Mauga asked if he could go back to the Max Unit to retrieve his towel which was hanging on the line. The Correction Officer followed Mauga to find him with a brown paper bag, while hand-rolling a marijuana joint. The brown paper bag was confiscated and the officer found a leafy substance which later tested positive for marijuana, enough to make four or five joints.
Mauga has since signed a plea agreement with the government, accepting the plea offer from the Attorney General’s office. It’s unclear when the plea hearing has been rescheduled, as the matter was to be held yesterday; however because of the ongoing jury trial this matter has been postponed.