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Man popped for pot pleas

Just say no to marijuana

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of selling hand rolled marijuana cigarettes to two men last year has entered into a plea agreement. Alfred Taumaoe, 35, of Tafuna appeared in court last week for a pretrial conference but pled out instead.

Taumaoe, a carpenter, was initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of marijuana. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Taumaoe pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge, a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Taumaoe admits that on Dec. 28, 2019 in Tafuna, he sold 12 hand rolled marijuana joints — for $10 apiece — to two men he claims are his regular customers.

The case was reported to police by a woman, who found two joints inside her husband’s pocket. A verbal argument erupted between the couple, and it ended with the woman telling police that Taumaoe is her husband’s cousin, and he’s been selling drugs in the village for years — but nobody has reported it to police out of fear of Taumaoe and his family.

A search of Taumaoe’s home and plantation was carried out, where police found drugs, firearms, and drug paraphernalia.

Taumaoe, who is out on a $5,000 surety bond, will be sentenced July 28, 2020.