Cops looking for alleged rapist end up arresting 2 men for drug possession
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men were arrested and later charged with drug possession when police went looking for a suspect in an alleged rape case.
Filipo Farani and Kueva Lilo made their initial appearances in District Court this week. They waived their rights to a preliminary hearing and the case was bound over to High Court.
Each of the defendants is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and one count of unlawful possession marijuana — both felonies, punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years and/or a fine of $5,000-$20,000 for each count.
Bail for Farani is $10,000 while Lilo is being held without bail due to his illegal immigration status. According to Immigration, Lilo entered American Samoa on a 30-day permit back in November 2018. If he posts bond, Farani is ordered to abide by the standard conditions of release, including no contact with the government witnesses.
Both men will appear in High Court this morning for arraignment.
On Jan. 22, 2020 several cops responding to a rape report met up with two males (later identified as the defendants) in an area between Iliili and Vaitogi.
The basis of the original report was that at about 7a.m. that same morning, a woman reported to police that her niece, 16, was sexually abused by a man who used to work on her plantation. The woman claimed that the alleged rapist was Toloa Wilson, a.k.a. “Willie”.
In her statement, the woman alleged that on the night of Jan. 9th while she was doing laundry, Willie came to her house uninvited and raped her niece who was asleep in her room. When police got to the area where the suspect resides, they met up with two males (the defendants) outside of the house.
Police approached the two men and observed a large number of empty baggies commonly used to smoke meth, at Farani and Lilo’s feet and in the general area.
When asked if they knew Willie’s whereabouts, Farani told police Willie had left to go shopping. According to the government, during the interaction, the two men kept fidgeting and putting their hands in and out of their pockets.
When asked if there was anything in their pockets, the pair said no.
Questions then focused on Willie, but officers couldn’t help but notice a machete within arm’s length of both men. Cops instructed Farani and Lilo to toss the machete to the side but the two kept passing the knife back and forth.
After a few minutes, one of the officers stepped in, removed the machete, and threw it to the side. While officers were getting closer, the two men appeared to be dropping things out of their pockets. They were again asked if there was anything in their pockets and the pair said no.
The government claims that the men seemed nervous, unable to control their hand movements. When asked a third time if there was anything in their pockets, the men again said no. A cop then asked if it was ok for him to check the inside of their pockets.
The pair walked towards police with hands raised and said, “Tago e su’e, e leai se mealele o i totonu o le taga o lo’u ofu.” (Go ahead, there is nothing illegal inside my pockets).
When searched, police found in Farani’s pockets, 2 glass pipes commonly used to smoke meth; a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance; and 3 hand rolled cigarettes.
On Lilo, officers found $780 cash; two small baggies containing what appeared to be meth; a small stamp-sized baggie containing a white crystalline substance; and several empty baggies commonly used to package meth for sale.
The white crystalline substance and green leafy substances found tested positive for meth and marijuana, respectively. Farani told police that earlier that morning, he spoke to Willie who told him that he raped a 16-year-old girl, who lived with the family who owns the plantation he used to work on.
According to Farani, Willie told him that he did what he did because the couple who owns the plantation owed him a lot of money. And not only did they not pay him for labor, they also owed him money for the drugs he gave them.
Farani further told police that Willie gave him a number of baggies containing meth and marijuana, and instructed him to sell it to anyone who came to the house to buy drugs.
Farani — who acknowledged that he knew what was in his pockets when police showed up — claims that it is routine for Willie to leave meth and marijuana with him to sell. And he usually gets (8) $50 baggies for which he collects $400
Lilo told police that the meth and marijuana found on him belonged to Willie. He said he’s been working for Willie for almost a year now.