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Man caught up in drug bust last year will be sentenced in May

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of three defendants arrested after armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed two search warrants — in Iliili and Tafuna in June of last year — has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Konelio Ta’avili, who is out on a $5,000 cash bond, appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Ta’avili, 42, was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by 5-10 years in jail, a fine between $5,000-$20,000, or both.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Ta’avili pled guilty to a lesser felony charge of unlawful possession of meth. Ta’avili admits that on June 28, 2019 he had on him 2 glass pipes containing meth.

The government claims that on the night in question, a red truck was stopped by police in the Iliili area. The driver was later identified as Ta’avili, who was informed about the search warrant. During a body search of Ta’avili, police found 2 glass pipes containing a crystalline substance in the front left pocket of his pants.

In his statement to police, Ta’avili said he found 2 glass pipes in front of an Asian store, picked them up, and put them in his pocket. He told police the name of a person (Kaleti Utu) who he said sells drugs.

Sentencing for Taavili is scheduled for May 29th.