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Domestic violence connects to alleged use of illegal drugs

American Samoa District Court building
Man allegedly threatens to kill his wife with a machete — and a vehicle

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of assaulting his wife and threatening to kill her with a machete was arrested by police and charged with assault involving domestic violence. However, when the defendant was apprehended, cops discovered illegal drugs in his possession.

(Samoa News has chosen not to identify the man due to the victims being underaged. He is named in court documents.)

The defendant, 34, made his initial appearance in court last month.

The government has filed two separate cases against the defendant.

In the first case, he is charged with one count of 3rd degree assault (involving domestic violence); one count of disturbing the public peace (involving domestic violence) and one count of armed with a dangerous weapon (involving domestic violence; all misdemeanors).

In the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana; both felonies, punishable by imprisonment term of nor less than five nor more than ten years, a $20,000 fine, or both.

Due to his illegal immigration status and the nature of the charges against him, the court decided to hold the defendant in custody without bond.


The government alleges that on Sept. 20, 2020 about 7 a.m, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) requesting police assistance, reporting that her sister’s husband was searching for her sister with a machete in his hand and appeared to be agitated and was acting violent.

A few moments later, the same woman called TPS again and asked for police to hurry up because she fears for her sister’s safety, especially as her husband is walking around their neighborhood with a machete in his hand.

Two police units arrived at the caller’s home and met up with her regarding her request for police assistance. As the caller was speaking with the officers, her phone rang and it was her sister (victim) who called to inform her that she’s outside the TPS and wanted to lodge a criminal complaint against her husband (defendant).

According to the court affidavit, on the same morning of Sept. 20, an unknown woman walked into the TPS and identified herself to police officers stating that she wanted to lodge a complaint against her husband for assaulting her and threatening to kill her.

Officers observed scratches on the woman’s facial area and both hands. Her left eye was swollen and she looked nervous and shaking.

Officers calmed the victim down and told her to take her time before she made her statement to police; and there was nothing to worry about because she was now under police protection.

During the interview, the victim stated that it all started after she dropped their children off at school and when she got back home, she noticed her husband sitting on a chair in the living room.

According to the victim, her husband had not been home the whole night and she didn’t know where he had been. She, however, did smell a strong odor of alcohol when she first entered the house, and immediately suspected that her husband was drunk.

As she walked towards her husband, she noticed something unusual lying on the chair next to him — it looked like an object that could be used to smoke something.

According to the victim, she asked her husband about his whereabouts during the whole night and also about the strong smell of alcohol inside the house. Her husband told her that he was at his friend’s house and she had no business questioning his whereabouts. That is when her husband grabbed the object that was lying beside him on the chair and put it inside his pocket.

The victim asked her husband about the object, but her husband said it’s nothing and walked out of the house to the car.

After a few minutes her husband came back inside the house and that’s when her husband started damaging their front window and yelling at her saying it’s not what she think.

Her husband then opened the door to their room, and while she was lying on the bed, pulled her hair and dragged her out to the living room before he punched her in her left eye before pushing her down to the floor. Her husband continued to kick her back, pull her hair and slap her in the facial area, while she was still lying on the floor.

The victim begged her husband to stop but the husband continued assaulting her by throwing punches to her body and also dragging her around.

The victim stated that she heard her husband saying, “I’m going to kill you with the machete,” and she saw her husband making his way to the kitchen. That’s when she stood up and ran outside to their neighbors for help.

The victim said her husband followed her to their neighbor’s house in his car, and punched her in the head and pulled her by her hair towards the car trying to force her inside the car, but she fought back. When she was free, she ran towards another family’s compound and her husband, while driving erratically, hit her with the car, while she was running and she fell towards the chain link fence. The victim said she heard her husband saying, “Today is the day you die”.

The victim got free again from her husband and ran to the house of another neighbor where she called her sister and notified her of the situation.

As the victim was speaking with her sister on the phone, she saw her husband walking around their neighborhood looking for her with a machete in his hand. That was when the victim told her sister that her husband was walking around with a machete.

Several police officers went to the couple’s house in an effort to locate the suspect. They observed the couple’s vehicle parked in front of their house and they suspected that the suspect was inside the house. As officers approached the house, they could see from outside a person lying on the floor in the living. room. The person matched the description provided by the victim to the police, including the suspect’s clothes and the color of his shoes.

The suspect was apprehended from the couple’s house and transported to the TPS for questioning. Officers could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the suspect’s breathe when they apprehended him.

Before the suspect was transported to the TPS for questioning, he was frisked and officers found a glass pipe (commonly use to smoke meth) containing white crystalline substance inside his right pocket. Further search of the defendant’s body discovered a small baggie containing green leafy substance inside his rear pocket.

The suspect was Mirandized and when questioned as to the allegations, he told police whatever his wife wants to do, it’s up to her.

When asked about the glass pipe containing white crystalline substance and the small baggie containing green leafy substance found in his possession, the defendant said it’s illegal drugs and it belongs to him.

The suspect also gave consent to search his vehicle parked outside of their house. During the vehicle search, police discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance lying on the floor under the driver’s seat.

When asked if he had any knowledge of what was found under the driver’s seat, the suspect nodded his head.

The white crystalline substances found were tested and it revealed positive results for methamphetamine. The green leafy substance was also tested and it revealed positive results for marijuana.