Court cases for PPD and assault, usually also involve illegal drugs
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was arrested for disturbing the public peace and later found to be in possession of drugs has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Faafiti Sale appeared in court this week for a pretrial conference.
He was initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony, and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and public peace disturbance. But under a plea agreement, accepted by the court, Sale pled guilty to the amended, lesser charge of unlawful possession of marijuana, a class D felony that carries a sentence of up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Sale, set to be sentenced next month, admits that on the evening of May 21, 2020 at his home in Nuuuli he had on him two hand rolled marijuana joints when police arrested him for disturbing the public peace — he was yelling profanities at his neighbor, with a beer bottle in hand. During a body search, police found two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes on him. Sale admitted that the joints belonged to him.
Salevao Saumani, a probationer convicted of public peace disturbance (PPD), has been sentenced to 10 days in jail.
“This is how things work out in this courtroom,” the court told Saumani. “Once you violate a condition of your probation, we’re no longer talking about counseling; we’re talking about jail terms, and that’s what you get for disobeying the court’s order.”
“So, if you want to try the court again, go ahead because your next conviction will be higher than this one,” the court warned.
Saumani was placed on probation for 6 months following a PPD conviction at the beginning of this year. One of the many conditions of probation required him to maintain the peace with his girlfriend and remain law abiding.
However, Saumani — while on probation — was re-arrested and charged for yet another PPD, for which he was convicted last week. He will have to spend 5 weekends at the TCF to fulfill his 10-day sentence.
Saumani apologized to the court for his actions and begged for one more chance so he can continue his care for his parents and his family.
A 30-year-old man who was released by the court two months ago on his own recognizance under the condition that he remain law abiding and stay alcohol and drug free, is now facing felony drug charges after he was re-arrested over the weekend for alleged possession of marijuana. Lui Aumaga made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago.
Aumaga, who was charged two months with PPD, a class B misdemeanor, is now charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years and a fine of $5,000-$20,000.
Bond is set at $10,000 and a preliminary examination is next week.
On the evening of May. 20th, the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit received information regarding a truck that was pulled over by traffic cops on the east side of the island and illegal drugs were allegedly discovered in the back seat of the vehicle.
During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the driver, Aumaga, was released last month following an arrest and PPD charge.
A search of the vehicle, conducted in Aumaga's presence, uncovered a black pouch on the back seat of the truck containing a medium plastic baggie holding 5 rolled joints (green leafy substance) that appeared to be marijuana. Also inside was a wallet was Aumaga's driver's license and personal documents.
Police also discovered a separate medium sized plastic bag, containing cash and rolling papers. After the vehicle was searched, Aumaga was taken into custody for further questioning.
In his statement to police, Aumaga admitted that the vehicle, along with the illegal drugs discovered in the black pouch, all belong to him. He told investigators that he had just returned from delivering drugs to two other people, and he got the marijuana joints from another male, and he was selling each joint for $10
Police noted the name of the person Aumaga said from which he got the drugs.
The green leafy substance that was found in the vehicle tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
when the fight between the two men broke out. Amosa approached the victim about something and a verbal argument started.
Two witnesses stated that the victim apologized to Amosa on behalf of his son’s action for stealing tools from Amosa’s house. Amosa remained angry and pushed the victim away. He then turned around and grabbed a shovel and immediately struck the victim on his head twice, causing the victim to fall to the ground. Amosa then stuck the victim again on his back multiple times while the victim was still on the ground.
Amosa is scheduled to appear in court next month for sentencing.
A 36-year-old farmer convicted of striking the head of an intruder with a metal pipe after the intruder visited the defendant’s wife at their home was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last week, after the court sentenced him to time he already served while awaiting the outcome of his case, which was 6 months.
Gasologa Salatielu appeared in court last week for sentencing.
Salatielu was initially charged with 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Salatielu agreed to plead guilty to the amended charged of 3rd degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
When given the chance to address the court, Salatielu apologized for his actions and asked for a second chance to continue to remain in American Samoa to care for his family. He told the court that he’s 36 years old and has lived here most of his life.
Salatielu said that there was no intention to cause severe injuries to the intruder however, his anger reached the point that caused him to act. He told the court that he made a mistake and wanted to start a new chapter in life.
His defense attorney asked the court to place his client on probation without any period of incarceration. The defense attorney further stated to the court that the intruder went to his client’s house on the night of the incident for the purpose of visiting his client’s wife. His client then used a piece of metal pipe to assault the intruder.
After the incident, the attorney said that his client’s wife departed the territory and went to Samoa, while he was in custody awaiting the outcome of his case.
The prosecutor echoed the defense attorney’s submission for a probated sentence without a period of incarceration.
The court sentenced Salatielu to 12 months imprisonment. Execution of detention was suspended and the defendant was placed on probation for 12 months subject to several conditions.
He must visit the probation office once a month, and he must not have any contact with the intruder, Etuale Valosaga. The court also ordered Salatielu to continue working on his farm to pay his $500 fine.
The second defendant arrested for burglarizing a store and stealing several items has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Malaki Mikaele, who has been in custody since he was arrested in April of this year, unable to post a $5,000 surety bond appeared in court last week for his Change of Plea hearing.
Mikaele was initially charged with stealing and first degree burglary, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, Mikaele agreed to plead guilty to the amended charged of conspiracy to commit 2nd degree burglary, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
By his guilty plea, Mikaele admits that on Apr. 21st, 2020 around 1:33a.m, with the assistance of another person, he knowingly entered into a warehouse in the Tafuna area for the purpose of committing a crime.
While he and the other person were inside the warehouse, they stole several items with value totaling $1,640 belonging to the company that owns the warehouse
Sentencing is scheduled for next month.