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Farmer charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of selling hand rolled marijuana cigarettes to three different people behind a store in the Tafuna area last year has entered into a plea agreement.

Faamanu Aleki, 38, of Tafuna appeared in court last week for a pretrial conference but pled out instead.

Aleki, a farmer, was initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of marijuana. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Aleki pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge, a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Aleki admits that on May 14, 2020 in Tafuna, he sold 10 hand rolled marijuana joints — for $10 a piece — to two men he claims are his regular customers.

The case was reported to police by a woman who found two joints in her husband’s pocket. A verbal argument erupted between the couple, and it ended with the woman telling police that Aleki is her husband’s cousin, and he’s been selling drugs in the village for years — but nobody has reported it to police out of fear of Aleki and his family.

The woman further stated to police that her husband has just admitted to her that the two marijuana cigarettes discovered inside his pant pocket was bought from Aleki for $20.

A search of Aleki’s home and plantation later, on that same date was carried out, where police found drugs, firearms, and drug paraphernalia.

Aleki, who is out on a $15,000 surety bond, will be sentenced next month.