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Alleged domestic violence incident ends with drug arrest

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested for assaulting his girlfriend is now charged with unlawful possession of illegal drugs, which police allegedly found in his possession.

Atonio Aleki appeared in District Court last month for his initial appearance where he informed the court that he wanted to exercise his constitutional rights to a preliminary examination (PX).

Aleki is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, along with 3rd degree assault involving domestic violence and disturbing the private peace (PPD) involving domestic violence, both misdemeanors.

Bail is set at $10,000.


On Feb. 19th, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a man in Iliili asking for help after his sister had allegedly been assaulted by the defendant, who is the father of her five young children.

The defendant was later identified as Atonio Aleki.

Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the reporter in this case, who is the victim’s brother.

The victim’s brother told police that he was working at his plantation when he heard his sister calling out his name. He ran to the house and found the defendant hitting his sister with a board causing bruises to her hands, legs and back. Defendant also damaged several items inside the house including the victim’s phone, TV, laptop and iPad.

Aleki was immediately placed under police custody, but before Aleki was transported to the TPS, he was patted down and police discovered a hard object inside Aleki’s right pocket. When asked about the hard object, Aleki told police that “it was a gun.”

The government stated that “Gun” is a street name for the glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine.

Police pulled out the hard object and saw it was a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance. Police also found two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes inside Aleki’s left pocket.

When asked where he got the glass pipe and the marijuana joints, Aleki told police he had no idea where the glass pipe and the marijuana joints came from. He further stated to police that the long pants he’s wearing belong to his older brother, so it must be his brother’s drugs.

However, Aleki eventually admitted that the illegal drugs found in his possession belonged to him. He told investigators that he went to the Le Filifili two days prior to his arrest and purchased meth from a friend for $40. However, the marijuana joints were given to him for free by the man who sells meth at the Le Filifili

When asked about the domestic violence case, Aleki broke down into tears and apologized to investigators for what happened between him and his girlfriend. He stated that it was his meth problem that caused many problems in their relationship and every time he smoked meth or marijuana, his girlfriend would always come out against him.

Aleki admitted that he punched his girlfriend in the face before he used a board to hit her some more. While he was assaulting his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s brother called out his name and asked him to stop while his children were running around inside the house crying for help.

He further stated to police that he was mad when his girlfriend’s mother accused him of stealing property from the house and selling it to get drugs on the day of the incident.


In 2014, Aleki was placed on probation for 12 months after being convicted for third-degree assault. The conviction stemmed from an incident where he assaulted his girlfriend (the same victim) by punching her in the face and kicking her in the back.

Three years later in 2017, Aleki was arrested and charged with disturbing the private peace at his home involving domestic violence. He was convicted by the court and placed on probation for 12 months.