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Drug charges land two men in court

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 24-year-old man is being accused of drug possession and for allegedly trying to break into a Malaeimi store. Joseph Foma’i Jr. made his initial appearance in District Court last week, represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell.

Foma’i Jr., who has a long history in the court system, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and second degree attempted burglary - both class D felonies, along with disturbing the public peace (PPD), a class B misdemeanor.

Bond is set at $5,000


A witness had called police to report that a young male tried to break in to a Malaeimi store by throwing rocks at the back door on the night of Sept. 13th.

Police responded to the call but were unable to locate the suspect. A week later,  the same caller contacted police, telling them that the man he saw trying to break into the store was within sight. When cops arrived, the witness pointed them to Foma’i Jr., who was standing in front of the same store he allegedly tried to burglarize.

Police approached Foma’i Jr. and asked him if he could come with them to the station to talk. While speaking to police, Foma’i Jr. turned and ran to the back of an abandoned building behind the store. A foot chase ensued.

With the help of other village people, Foma’i Jr. was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. Prior to that, a body search of Foma’i Jr. netted 2 glass pipes containing a white crystalline substance (which tested positive as meth) wrapped together in a white blank paper.

Foma’i Jr told police that his friend from Faga’alu gave him the 2 glass pipes but he didn’t reveal his friend’s name. When asked about the alleged attempted break-in at a Malaeimi store, Foma’i Jr. said he didn’t know anything about it, but other men from the village had provided him with the name of the culprit.


A 26-year-old man who was released by the court last month on his own recognizance under the condition that he remain law abiding and stay alcohol and drug free, is now facing felony drug charges after he was re-arrested for alleged possession of marijuana.

Tautai Salesa made his initial appearance in District Court last week. Last month, he was charged with public peace disturbance (PPD), a class B misdemeanor; but now, he is facing charges of unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, both class D felonies, punishable by 5-10 years in jail, and a fine of $5,000-$20,000.

Bond is set at $10,000 and a preliminary examination is this Friday.


On the evening of Sept. 24th, cops received information about a truck that was pulled over by traffic cops on the east side. Drugs were allegedly discovered in the back seat of said vehicle.

Detectives learned that the driver, Salesa, was released last month following an arrest and PPD charge. A search of the vehicle, conducted in Salesa's presence, uncovered a black pouch in the back seat, containing a medium plastic baggie with 5 rolled cigarette joints (green leafy substance) that appeared to be marijuana. Also inside was a wallet with Salesa's driver's license and personal documents.

A separate medium sized plastic bag, containing cash and rolling papers, was also found.

In his statement to police, Salesa admitted that the vehicle, and the drugs found inside the black pouch, all belonged to him. He told investigators that he had just returned from delivering drugs to two other people, and he got the marijuana joints from another male, and he was selling each joint for $10

Police noted the name of the person Salesa said he got the drugs from. The green leafy substance that was found in the vehicle tested positive for marijuana.