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4 juvie cops arrested

Four Department of Public Safety officers from the Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) were arrested Thursday and they all appeared Friday morning before District Court Judge Fiti A. Sunia, for their initial appearance hearing.

Based on the names read in open court and on the court calender, the officers charged are Junior Utuga, Alofagia Letuli, Okesene Alo, and Olafou Wilson.

All four were in handcuffs when they appeared in court, where they all waived official public reading of the charges against them - which is normal during initial appearance proceedings.

While the specific charges and details of the allegedly crimes committed by the officers were not immediately available, Samoa News understands that the charges stem from a police investigation into alleged illegal activities at the JDC in Tafuna.

The defendants were remanded back into custody after Friday’s hearing.

If the defendants are able to post bail, Sunia has set several conditions, which include that they are prohibited from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs and are subject to random testing, they must turn in all travel documents as they are prohibited from leaving the territory while their cases are pending in court.

The defendants were also ordered by the court to “stay away” and make no direct or indirect contact with ASG witnesses and victims.

While Alo is represented by private attorney Sharron Rancourt, the rest of the defendants are represented by assistant public defender Mathoni McCormick, while prosecuting the case is assistant attorney general Woodrow Pengelly.

Samoa News will update this story in Monday’s edition or when new information becomes available.