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Court remands one man back to custody, releases another

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was released from jail last week — by order of the court — is back to prison on the allegation that he violated conditions of his probation, after testing positive for drugs.

The government alleges that Afasene Hunkin was ordered by Probation to undergo a drug test when he visited their office on Tuesday last week — only a day after he was released from TCF. The test came back positive for marijuana.

Hunkin appeared before Associate Justice Fiti Sunia yesterday morning pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the court. He was served with a copy of his Order To Show Cause (OSC) when his case was called in court.

Hunkin, through his defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, denied the new allegation, and a preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 26th.

He is remanded back to custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without bond.


Hunkin was sentenced to a 5-year probation term, after he was convicted of child abuse when he used the flat side of a machete to strike his 11-year-old nephew on the back.

As a condition of his 5-year probation, Hunkin was ordered to serve 20 months in jail but the court deferred 13 months and he was credited the 7 months he spent in pretrial confinement.

Hunkin was released and ordered to remain law abiding and remain alcohol and drug free.


A young man accused of damaging a vehicle belonging to StarKist Samoa has admitted to the charge against him.

Johnson Falaniko appeared in High Court this week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Doug Lowe.

Falaniko was initially charged with first degree property damage and stealing, both class C felonies. However, under a plea agreement with the court, accepted by the court this week, Falaniko pled guilty to an amended charge of conspiracy to commit property damage, a class A misdemeanor.

With his guilty plea, Falaniko admits that on July 30, 2018, he, along with another person, damaged the glass window of a Ford Ranger belonging to StarKist Samoa.

According to terms of the plea agreement, the damaged window cost $1,110.84

The government is recommending probation and restitution of $1,110.84

Falaniko, who is out on bond, will be sentenced Sept. 26th