High Court accepts guilty peas from 4 defendants
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the men arrested after police raided a home in Tafuna last year in search of drugs and weapons has pled guilty.
Talosaga Vaili, 42, was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years, and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000 or both.
Under a plea agreement with the government, Vaili pled guilty to an amended count, a class D felony, punishable by not more than 5 years and a fine of not more than $5,000 or both.
With his guilty plea, Vaili admits that on Feb. 9, 2018 while he working as a taxi driver, he unlawful possessed a glass pipe containing methamphetamine.
Armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit had executed a search warrant at the home of Alesana Apelu and Vaili was present at the residence, with his taxi parked in front of the house.
Police searched Vaili’s taxi and found drugs.
Vaili told police that the glass pipe containing meth was given to him by Apelu to compensate him for his help in delivering drugs to several people who were unable to come by Apelu’s house to buy drugs.
The government is recommending probation, with the condition that Vaili depart the territory and remain outside of its jurisdiction during probation.
Vaili remains in custody with bond set at $5,000
He is scheduled for sentencing on Apr. 29
His co-defendant, Alesana Apelu, who is also in custody with bond set at $20,000 will appear in court next month for a pretrial conference.
A 24-year-old man accused of burglary and stealing has admitted to the charges.
Leisam Sioka appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
Sioka was charged in two separate cases.
In the first one, he was charged with 2nd degree burglary and stealing, both class C felonies, and trespass, a class A misdemeanor. For the second case, he was charged with escape from confinement, a class D felony.
Sioka has agreed to plead guilty to stealing. The remaining charges are dismissed.
With his guilty plea, Sioka admits that on Mar. 27, 2018 he unlawfully entered a home in Mapusaga Fou and stole several items, including a 22 caliber rifle which he later sold to another man.
Sioka told police he stole the gun and sold it because he needed money to buy beer and cigarettes for him and his friends.
Sioka remains in custody unable to post a $5,000 surety bond.
He will be sentenced May 3
AMEPEROSA TAGIILIMA & LAULALA KALAPU
The two men accused of receiving stolen property have pled out.
Ameperosa Tagiilima, 24, and Laulala Kalapu, 22, appeared before Judge Elvis P. Patea for a change of plea hearing last week.
Tagiilima was initially charged with one count of receiving stolen property, a class C felony. But under a plea agreement with the government, he pled guilty to the amended charge of conspiracy to receive stolen property from another person, a class D felony.
With his guilty plea, Tagiilima admits that on July 8, 2018 he agreed to help Kalapu sell a DVD player, DVDs, fine mats, a laptop and a pair of black combat boots to his friend from Pava’ia’i, knowing the items were stolen from the home of Afitu Talosaga in Pava’ia’i.
The value of the items exceeded $100.
Co-defendant Kalapu was initially charged with 2nd degree burglary, stealing, receiving stolen property, and trespassing.
Under a plea bargain with the government, Kalapu pled guilty to receiving stolen property. The remaining charges were dismissed. Kalapu's admission mirrors Tagiilima's.
Both sides have recommended 5 years probation, under the condition that they serve a period of detention at the Territorial Correctional Facility.
The government also recommends that Tagiilima depart the territory due to his illegal immigration status.
According to court record's, Tagiilima entered the territory on a 30-day permit and was an overstayer for 9 months before his arrest.
Both men will be sentenced May 5.