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Inmate charged in drug smuggling case involving Correctional Officer

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The third co-defendant allegedly involved in the case where a Correctional Officer (C.O) at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and a woman were arrested and charged last month on the allegation that they helped each other to smuggle a large quantity of illegal drugs and cell phones into the TCF was finally charged last week.

Pati Lepou, who is inmate serving a long sentence for stealing, burglary and escape from confinement is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; both unclassified felonies punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both; along with one count of bribery of a public servant, a class D felony.

During his initial appearance in District Court last week Lepou waived his rights to a preliminary examination and his case was bound to the High Court for arraignment last Friday.

Lepou is scheduled to appear again in court for his pretrial conference on June 12.


The government claims that on Mar. 3, 2020, Deputy Commissioner Falana’ipupu Taase Sagapolutele contacted a Police Detective from the DPS Criminal Investigating Division (CID) to investigate a case where a woman allegedly tried to smuggle drugs into the TCF with the help of a C.O.

Several police detectives responded to the call and met up with officials at the TCF, along with the C.O, who is allegedly involved in this case.

Investigators interviewed the C.O — Ofisa Enoka Leifi Jr —who was later arrested in this matter. (See Samoa News story, March 10, 2020 for details of case.)

One week after Leifi was arrested, police arrested the second co-defendant in this case, a female by the name of Josephine Siaumau-Gauta.

According to government’s case, C.O Leifi Jr. was on duty on the morning shift of Mar. 3, 2020 from 6a.m to 6p.m and was assigned to the Alpha Building. It was during this time, that Leifi Jr. allegedly became involved with smuggling drugs into the TCF for an inmate by the name of Lepou, the defendant in this case. The drugs were allegedly delivered by the inmate’s girlfriend, Josephine Siaumau, inside a newspaper and handed to Leifi Jr. to give to the inmate.

A police lieutenant questioned C.O Leifi Jr. regarding what the co-defendant allegedly gave him as he was suspicious of Leifi Jr’s actions and asked him to empty his pockets. At this time, a pack of cigarettes taped with a clear adhesive tape and two cell phones were found. The pack of cigarettes was unwrapped and a small zip lock baggie was found allegedly containing what appeared to be crystalline substances. The white crystalline substance was later tested by a police detective and was found positive for methamphetamine.

C.O Leifi Jr admitted to investigators that Lepou gave him money to give it to his girl friend (Josephine Siaumau-Gauta) to buy drugs.  She was waiting outside of the TCF main gate. C.O Leifi Jr further stated to investigators that another incident occurred three weeks prior to the Mar. 3 incident where Lepou gave him money to give it to his girl friend Josephine.

C.O Leifi Jr admitted that he went outside the TCF main gate and gave Josephine money in exchange for illegal drugs. He walked back inside the TCF compound and allegedly handed drugs to Lepou at the TCF Cafeteria. Lepou thanked him and secretly gave him $80.

Both C.O Leifi Jr’s and Josephine Siaumau-Gauta’s cases are pending in High Court.