Man with multiple drug convictions — arrested again for drugs
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with prior convictions for unlawful possession of illegal drugs is back in court. This time, he’s accused of stealing money from his aunt to buy meth for himself and his friends, and he was found with meth in his possession when arrested.
Uelese Faaletau, who is on probation, was arrested by police three weeks ago and made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, and one count of stealing, all felonies; along with one count of disturbing the public peace (PPD) at his village.
Bail is set at $15,000.
If Faaletau is able to post bond, the court has ordered standard bond restrictions.
Faaletau, who is on probation, was arrested outside his friend’s home in Taputimu after his aunt contacted police for help when she found out that her nephew (defendant) left her home after stealing several items from her house, which according to the victim are worth in excess of $1,000.
Several police officers responded to the call and spoke with the victim regarding this matter.
The victim told investigators that her nephew, Uelese Faaletau has been with her for over two years and she really needed him in the home to help her with a lot of things. Since Faaletau has been with her, he has been a good guy, who obeyed her instructions.
However, four months ago, some of her belongings started to go missing from her house, including shoes, clothes, power tools, weed eater, a laptop and money. When she confronted her nephew about the items, he told her that he had no knowledge about them.
Over the past few months, money and her son’s personal belongs also disappeared from her home, which her nephew denied taking. According to the victim, that’s when she started to realize that her nephew was stealing things from her home.
On Saturday, Aug. 29th, Faaletau left his aunt’s home around 2 p.m, and he returned around 7:23 p.m very drunk. His aunt scolded him for leaving the house without informing her of his whereabouts. Faaletau became upset and decided to leave his aunt’s home for good.
The victim woke up around 7 a.m the next morning and realized that her nephew was not in the house. She thought that maybe he was out walking, but it was when the sun went down on that same day that the victim realized that Faaletau was not coming back.
Around that time, the aunt found that her purse containing $210 cash that was hidden under her bed was missing, along with two pairs of shoes belonging to her son. That was when she contacted police for assistance.
Police went out looking for Faaletau, based on the description given by his aunt.
Around 10:45 p.m on Aug. 29, the Tafuna Police Substaton (TPS) received a call from a woman in Taputimu requesting police assistance regarding two men who are very intoxicated and making unreasonable noise in front of her home.
Police responded to the call and observed two male individuals standing in front of a residence in Taputimu, each holding a beer bottle.
When police arrived at the scene they easily recognized that one of the two male individuals matched Faaletau’s description given by his aunt. Faaletau was placed in police custody after he identified himself to police as Uelese Faaletau.
(His friend was also placed in police custody and was later arrested and charged for disturbing the public peace. No drugs were found on Faaletau’s friend during a body search by police)
Before Faaletau was transported to the TPS, a standard body search was conducted and officers discovered a black purse in Faaletau’s possession. When asked who owned the purse, Faaletau replied, “It belongs to my aunt.”
When questioned by police, Faaletau admitted that he stole his aunt’s purse containing $210 cash and he used the money to buy food, beer and meth for him and his friend. He also told police he gave $100 to his friend.
Police also discovered a hard object inside Faaletau’s rear pocket. Police pulled the object out and realized that it was a glass pipe (commonly used to smoke meth) containing white crystalline substance.
Police also found two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes in Faaletau’s front pocket.
When asked about the glass pipe and the marijuana joints, Faaletau admitted that the glass pipe and the joints belonged to him and he bought it all from a man in the area called Le Filifili.
The white crystalline substance was later tested and the results were positive for methamphetamine.
Faaletau was convicted of felony stealing in April of 2018, and subsequently sentenced to 5 years probation under the condition that he serve 20 months detention.
However, he was given a huge break by the court when he was credited with the 8 months he served in pretrial confinement; the remaining 12 months was stayed, as long as he complied with all conditions of probation. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine within 8 months, and secure gainful employment.
One year later in March of 2019, Faaletau was arrested for unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He was originally arrested for disturbing the public peace (PPD), but during a pat down, an officer discovered a glass pipe containing methamphetamine hidden inside his pants.
In August of 2019, Faaletau was convicted of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and sentenced to 5 years probation under the condition that he serve a period of detention of 20 months, however, the court ruled that the 8 months Faaletau served in jail while awaiting the outcome of his case was sufficient and he was released and ordered to comply with all conditions of his probation.
The court also decided not to revoke Faaletau’s probation from 2018 but ordered him to continue on probation.