Court Report: Marijuana charges, drunk driving case and break ins on court docket
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Tafuna who, along with a co-defendant broke into a store in Tafuna and stole about $1,000 worth of goods — none of which was recovered — was ordered by the court last week to pay restitution of $1,000 to the store, after he serves 28 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
Euini Enosa was originally charged with stealing and second-degree burglary, both class C felonies. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, he pled guilty to stealing. The remaining charge was dismissed.
Enosa admits that on Aug 10, 2020 he unlawfully entered a store in Tafuna and, along with his co-defendant, stole items worth $1,000.
Enosa apologized for his actions and asked for forgiveness. “What I did was bring shame to my family and myself. What was written in the newspaper about my case makes me embarrassed and I want to change my life and do good things. I’m truly remorseful and I want to go back home and care for my parents,” he said.
According to Enosa, his father is unemployed and stays home because he’s disabled and can’t walk, and he’s the only one in the family and the eldest of his parents’ six children who his sick father depends on for everything in the family.
Defense attorney told the court that his client made a terrible mistake. Not only did he break the law, but he also set a bad example for the juveniles he allowed to be involved in the burglary.
“I hope that the period Enosa spent in prison will wake him up and change his path, because if he continues to live like this, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars, or end up in a different place, including the hospital. He’s really young and he has a bright future ahead of him,” the defense attorney said.
He asked for a probated sentence so his client can get a job to care for his parents, and pay his fine and restitution.
The government’s attorney asked for a probated sentence, including a period of detention. He said that despite the fact that the defendant has no prior criminal record, what he did was serious and he has to face the consequences of his actions.
Enosa was sentenced to 7 years in jail. Execution of sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 7 years with conditions. He has to serve 28 months without release, and pay $1,000 restitution to the store. After serving one year in jail, the defendant is eligible for work release, provided he finds a job to pay restitution.
He is not to make any contact with his co-defendant, and he is to stay away from the store he burglarized. He is also to remain alcohol and drug free.
A taxi driver who was convicted of receiving stolen goods has been sentenced to two years probation.
Lama Faiaso was initially charged with one count of conspiracy to steal, a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both; however, under a plea agreement with the government, Faiaso pled guilty to the amended charge of receiving stolen property, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, Faiaso admits that on Nov. 20, 2020, he received from someone, property valued at less than $100 that was stolen from a store in Nu’uuli.
During sentencing, Faiaso apologized for his actions and asked for a second chance so he can continue caring for his family, especially his sick mother and young son.
Defense attorney told the court that his client is a first time offender and he asked the court for a probated sentence without any period of incarceration. He said his client spent almost 11 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), and he lost his job as a result.
The prosecutor did not oppose the defense's request for a probated sentence, saying the months Faiaso spent in jail is more than enough punishment for what he did.
The court agreed, and noted that Faiaso has no prior criminal record in High Court, and only a few appearances in District Court.
“We do note Mr. Faiaso that in 37 years you have managed to keep yourself away from violating the law, until this recent violation when you hung around with the wrong people, or with some other kind of influence, which is something you need to address by yourself, to make sure you don’t repeat it,” the court said.
Faiaso was sentenced to 12 months in jail; however, execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for two years under the condition that he remains law-abiding, and pay a fine of $1,000 and restitution of $1,000.
He was sentenced to serve 10 months at TCF and he is credited for the time he already served. Faiaso will have to serve two more months before he’s released from custody.
On Aug. 14, 2021 about 10:35p.m, several police officers patrolling Nu’uuli heading west observed a truck heading east with only one headlamp working. Police initiated a traffic stop and noticed that not only did the driver have red and watery eyes but a strong odor of alcohol was also detected coming from within the vehicle. Two men were inside the vehicle.
The officer informed the driver of the reason for the vehicle stop and then requested his driver’s license. The driver was later identified as Nathaniel Fulu, while the passenger was identified as Misiolo Lui, the defendant in this case.
The officer who spoke to the driver informed his co-officer regarding the strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle as well as from the driver’s breath.
The driver was then informed that his vehicle would be impounded at Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) so that police could administer a field sobriety test. The driver agreed.
At the same time, officers observed the passenger of the vehicle holding an open beer can. That is when the driver was instructed by police officers to exit the vehicle where he was patted down and placed inside a police unit.
During that time, another police officer observed a half smoked hand rolled cigarette with green leafy substance that appeared to be a marijuana joint and pink paper wrapping a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana between the driver and passenger.
The passenger was then instructed by officers to exit the vehicle where he agreed and stepped out of the vehicle and immediately ran away from officers with an a black pouch in his hand.
Officers pursued the passenger on foot and subdued and apprehended him a few yards away from the vehicle stop. Officers were unable to locate or retrieve the the black pouch due to poor visibility, the area was dark and there were bushes. Both the driver (Fulu) and the suspect (Lui) were transported to the TPS for questioning. The vehicle was also impounded.
At the TPS, officers conducted an inventory of the vehicle, where they discovered a yellow envelope that contained a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana inside the armrest between the driver and the passenger seats. Senior police officers were informed about the discovery and detectives of the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit (VNU) were notified about the alleged illegal drugs.
The VNU tested the green leafy substances found inside the pink wrap and inside the white envelope, which resulted positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.
Fulu and Lui were placed in different rooms for interviews, where both were Mirandized, and they both agreed to speak to investigators regarding the incident.
Fulu told investigators how he and Lui met up at his workplace in Tafuna, and ended up cruising and smoking a hand rolled marijuana joint from Lui when they were stopped by police. He the marijuana found inside the vehicle belonged to Lui. Fulu was later released from custody.
During Lui’s interview, he confirmed Fulu’s account of the incident, including that the marijuana found inside the vehicle belonged to him, not Fulu.
Lui was then transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and confined.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony.
Bail is $5,000.