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Defendant sponsored by local construction company could face more charges

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Additional felony charges could be filed by the government against a man accused of assaulting one of his co-workers this past Monday, Feb. 18 in Aoloau.

Faafetai Iese is charged with private peace disturbance and third degree assault. He made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday morning.

According to the government's case, on the day in question, the victim walked into the DPS Tafuna substation, accompanied by his uncle, to request police and medical assistance for his injuries.

The criminal complaint notes that the victim and three of his co-workers were in Nuuuli doing yard work earlier in the day. Later on, the group went to Aoloau because one of the co-workers' family members needed transportation assistance.

The victim told police that when they arrived in Aoloau, the driver went inside the home while the rest of them waited outside. It is alleged that this was when the victim and Iese started arguing.

According to the victim, he was "shocked" when Iese punched him in the face with a clear glass jar in hand.

The victim claims that he tried to defend himself and he even attempted to run away but "it was difficult" because Iese took pieces of the broken glass and allegedly cut the victim on the leg.

The victim further told police that he contacted his uncle to pick him up from Aoloau because he was hurt and his co-workers were leaving him.

The victim was picked up by his uncle and the two immediately went to the police station.

The man needed stitches and therefore, had to be transported to the LBJ Hospital by EMS personnel.

According to court documents, Iese was found at home and transported to the Tafuna substation for questioning. Cops say they observed "blood stains" on Iese's coverall (jumpsuit), which is now in the DPS Evidence Room.

When questioned, Iese allegedly told police that he was trying "to avoid the devil".

Police described Iese as being "very intoxicated" when they picked him up.

During court proceedings yesterday, the Immigration officer who was present in court asked for more time to locate Iese's file. Defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson told the court that to his understanding, his client entered the territory on a permit back in Nov. 2018

Immigration has until next Monday, Feb. 25 to confirm Iese's immigration status.

For now, Iese is remanded to custody at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in Tafuna without bail.


Samoa News understands that Iese is sponsored by Peak 4 Contractors Inc., the same company that sponsored Mui Sua a.k.a. Mui Lilomaiava who was deported to independent Samoa last month after he was convicted of a DUI, and found to be working here illegally.

Sua was sentenced to 6 months probation with one condition: that he depart the territory by Sunday, Jan. 20 and not return anytime during his probation term.

Sua was one of a group of people from Samoa that Immigration Board chairperson Fanene Edda Wyvberski said were working in the territory illegally. Fanene explained that any person who enters the territory on a 30-day permit is not eligible to obtain a valid Immigration ID and therefore, they cannot legally work here.

She confirmed that Sua was part of a group of workers brought in from Samoa by a local construction company, and under the law, they were not supposed to work because they didn't have any valid Immigration IDs.

Last month, the Immigration Board imposed on Sua's sponsor, Peak 4 Contractors Inc., fines and penalties totaling over $13,500

At the time, Samoa News was told that 9 construction workers were brought in by the company on 30-day permits and all were said to have been employed without valid ID cards.

While it has been confirmed that Sua departed the territory last month as ordered by the court, Samoa News could not confirm if the other 8 workers departed — and if Iese, or the victim, are two of those 8 people.