Man from Samoa to get his wish to go home after violating local drug laws
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old man from Samoa who was convicted of violating the drug laws of the territory has been ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its border, as a condition of his 5-year probation sentence.
Mati Kolone, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $5,000 bond, pled guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a class D felony.
Anetone appeared in High Court two weeks ago for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule.
When given the chance to address the court, Kolone apologized for his actions, and asked for a chance to go back to Samoa to care for his parents and make use of his life to serve his church, family and village. Kolone also told the court that spending many months in jail has taught him a good lesson that drugs are not good for him.
“I made a terrible mistake that affects not only my family but also myself. I’m truly remorseful for my actions and I will never do this again,” Kolone told the court.
His attorney, Anderson asked the court to accept the recommendation contained in the Pre Sentence Report (PSR) prepared by the Probation Office, and sentence his client to a probated sentence under the condition that he has to depart the territory and be with his family in Samoa.
Speaking about the defendant’s previous conviction, Anderson told the court that his client’s previous conviction 11 years ago was different from his current case.
After reviewing all the facts of the case, along with submissions from counsels and also the statement from the defendant, the court stated that Kolone was a overstayer from Samoa when he was arrested by police last year, after being found with a small stamp size baggie containing meth.
According to a report from the Immigration Office, Kolone entered the territory in 2010 and worked as a mechanic at an auto shop in Petesa. In 2017, his immigration status expired and he was unable to renew his immigration I.D and yet continued to reside in the territory as an overstayer for 2 years before he was arrested.
The court pointed out that Kolone went out to a wedding party with some of this friends, and after his night out, a male individual went to drop him at his home in Petesa. However, when the vehicle got to Kolone’s residence in Petesa, the driver couldn’t wake him up — he was sleeping in the back seat of the vehicle.
As a result, the driver contacted his son, a police officer for help, who was working the graveyard shift at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) about the situation. His son advised him to drop Kolone off at the TPS so that he (police officer) could drop him off at his residence once he wakes up.
The father did so. Kolone then continued to sleep, but at the TPS, apparently very intoxicated.
When he woke up the next morning, the defendant then realized that he was sleeping in a different place. That is when he started to act violent and started to punch the wall inside the TPS conference room and leaving holes in the door of the office.
He was immediately apprehended by police and placed under police custody. As per normal, a body search was conducted, whereby officers discovered a small stamp size-baggie containing meth inside his pants pocket. Police also searched his black bag and discovered 6 empty stamp sized-baggies commonly use to sell meth.
When asked about the baggie of meth, Kolone told police it was a gift from his friend in Vaitogi for fixing his vehicle.
The court sentenced Kolone to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. Execution of sentence is suspended and the defendant is placed on probation for the period of 5 years, subject to certain conditions, including serving a period of detention of 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF); time already served would be counted towards his sentence. The remaining period of detention is stayed, and he is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its border for this stayed period.
The court ordered a copy of the court’s judgment and sentence to be served to the Immigration Office and Board, and to make sure Kolone’s name will be included on their office’s Lookout list.
In 2012, Kolonw was convicted of conspiracy to commit burglary and receiving stolen property, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
For each count, Kolone was ordered to serve detention of 28 months, which means, he had to serve a total of 56 months at the TCF, as a condition of his 7-year probation, which ended in 2018.