Deputy Police Commissioner is “surprised” that FBI is in the territory
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Five agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are on island and this came as a “surprise” to the Department of Public Safety.
“This is unusual as the FBI normally doesn’t come to American Samoa until something significant happens,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Fo’ifua Fo’ifua Jr in an interview with Samoa News yesterday at his office.
He said the FBI agents met with the Vice and Narcotics and the DPS Training Division on Tuesday as they have “training” coming up next month. “And that is all I know about their visit. Other than that, I am not aware of anything.
“They were supposed to meet with the Police Commissioner [Wednesday] at 9am but that meeting did not happen.
“We did not know they are on island, even the Commissioner was unaware of their trip and why they are here,” he said.
“I would think that if they are here for investigating purposes they should let us know, they cannot just come here and start their investigation without informing us about their actions.”
Two FBI agents were seen at the DPS yesterday morning.
Asked about reports on a case of alleged police brutality, which led to criminal charges against four police officers and whether that is being investigated by the FBI — Fo’ifua said he was unaware.
“That specific case is now before the court and it’s been pushed back to the 16th of November, 2022.
“And if they are here to investigate this matter, they have no right to come investigate local matters, when it’s already been handled by the local law enforcement.
“The [FBI] should only step in if we seek their assistance,” said the Deputy Commissioner.
“The [cops] have already been charged, we have nothing to hide, but I will inquire about this further because they were seen on the DPS premises and if this is the case, they are investigating a case already being investigated, then this is straight up disrespecting our local law enforcement, in my view,” said Fo’ifua.
“This building does not belong to the FBI, it is the Department of Public Safety. They cannot just come here and investigate our cases,” added the Deputy Commissioner.
The Deputy Commissioner is referring to the four police officers, including a police captain facing assault charges, from an incident in June. The four police officers are Captain Margie Alofaituli, Off. Faau Levi, Off. Elleryquinn Histake and Off. Dustin Maiava.
Read details of why the case has been postponed in today’s Court Report, elsewhere in today’s issue.
In 2012, a statement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) said that all FBI operations and investigative efforts in the U.S. territory of American Samoa would be handled by the FBI office in Honolulu, Hawaii. The decision for this consolidation was made by the U.S. Congress, and budget concerns were cites as the reason.
“The FBI is committed to continuing our investigations into issues of national security and federal criminal activity on American Samoa,” the head of the Honolulu FBI Office stated at the time. “However, budgetary realities can no longer justify staffing an office on American Samoa full time.”
The Honolulu Division of the FBI conducts investigations on several islands in the Pacific, including Tinian, Rota, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai, where no permanent FBI office exists.
The FBI’s American Samoa Office opened in 2006 as a satellite of the Honolulu Field Office. During that time, many high-profile public corruption, civil rights, and violent crime investigations resulted in criminal convictions.
American Samoa residents, who wish to report criminal activity or national security concerns to the FBI should contact the Honolulu Field Office at 808-566-4300.