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Man arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend — found with illegal drugs

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man from Vaitogi is now in custody on the allegation that he dragged his girlfriend inside a vehicle and assaulted her, in July of 2019.

Faamanu Ualesi, the defendant in this case, was arrested when he became involved in a Public Peace Disturbance (PPD). It was during his arrest last month that police discovered illegal drugs in Ualesi’s possession.


On the morning of Feb. 11th, 2018, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and requested police assistance, regarding a young male who came uninvited onto their family land and allegedly assaulted her 31-year-old niece by dragging her into a pickup in an attempt to kidnap her.

Fortunately, the victim’s female cousin intervened and managed to free the victim from the young man. The victim was then escorted to her home and cops were immediately alerted regarding the alleged incident.

The male was later identified as Faamanu Ualesi, the defendant in this case, while the female was later identified as the 31-year-old victim in this case. 

During the course of the investigation, investigators were told that the defendant and the victim had been in a relationship for over 5 years. However, the victim moved out of Ualesi’s house two years ago to stay with her aunt in Iliili.

The victim’s aunt contacted police for assistance, but when police arrived on the scene, they were informed by the victim’s cousin that the victim and aunt had gone to the TPS to file a complaint against Ualesi.

At the TPS, the aunt told investigators that after the victim was freed from Ualesi, she saw him take off running and was picked up by a black SUV that drove off at a high rate of speed.

The victim described the alleged incident that happened in front of the gate surrounding her aunt’s house, where she walked over to Ualesi when he called out to her. She stated that she didn’t want to go, but out of respect and the fact that she didn’t want a disturbance, she complied.

She told police that Ualesi approached her angrily and asked about her whereabouts the previous night. Raising his voice, he took her cellphone and allegedly pushed her against the fence. The victim told Ualesi to stop but he allegedly dragged her to the other side of the road and inside a pick-up vehicle that was driven by his friend.

According to the government, Ualesi allegedly forced her into the vehicle by carrying her and then throwing her inside it. When the victim was inside the vehicle, Ualesi allegedly assaulted her by choking her neck, shaking her and grabbing the front of her shirt and forcefully holding her down inside the car. She said Ualesi rested for a moment before continuing to repeatedly punch her in the face.

She said that while Ualesi was allegedly assaulting her, she saw her female cousin along with another male individual she had never met run towards the car and opened the left side door to pull her outside of the car.

Out of fear that the male individual might hurt him, Ualesi released the victim and yelled out to the driver to take off.

 The victim was escorted to the house by her cousin and immediately notified her aunt about what allegedly happened.

Police interviewed the victim’s cousin and her male friend as witnesses to the alleged incident. The cousin confirmed the victim’s account of the incident, including the role she played rescuing the victim by stoning the vehicle with her friend and helping the victim get out of the vehicle.

The cousin told police this is not the first time Ualesi has forced the victim to go with him. She said whenever the victim tried to break up with him (Ualesi), he would beat her up and she would come home with bruises on her body.

After interviewing the victim, several police officers headed to the defendant’s home in Vaitogi in an effort to locate him, however, his brother informed police that Ualesi just called her that he was spending the whole week with his girlfriend (victim) at her house. Ualesi was nowhere to be found.

However, last month, police arrested two men for PPD in the Iliili area and one of them was Ualesi.  While Ualesi was interviewed by police about the alleged PPD, his name appeared in the system for an active arrest warrant from the alleged domestic violence incident last year.

He was apprehended and transported to the TPS for further investigation. Before he was taken into the police unit, police conducted a body search on Ualesi and discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance, and a small stamp-sized baggie containing green leafy substance.

The white crystalline substance tested positive for methamphetamine, while the green leafy substance tested positive for marijuana.

After being Mirandized, Ualesi agreed to speak to investigators about the alleged domestic incident from last year. He denied assaulting or dragging her into a vehicle, and said he only spoke to her about their relationship.  He told police that he loves his girlfriend and would never harm her.

Ualesi made his initial appearance in court last month. He has been charged by the government in two separate cases.

In the first case, Ualesi is charged with one count of felonious restraint involving domestic violence and one count of attempted kidnapping involving domestic violence, both class C felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of $5,000 but not less than $150 pursuant to A.S.C.A 47.0402, or both; and two class A misdemeanor charges of 3rd degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Bail in this case is set at $20,000.

In the second case, Ualesi is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies which carry on imprisonment sentence between 5 to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or both; along with one count of public peace disturbance, a misdemeanor.

Bail in this case is set at $20,000.

If he posts bonds, the court orders Ualesi to stay away from the victim and not attempt to contact her or her family in any way; and even if he encounters her in public, he is to walk away from her peacefully. The court also ordered Ualesi not to set foot on the victim’s family compound at anytime.