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Man selling marijuana to cannery workers jailed


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man, who was born in Samoa but raised in American Samoa since he was 4, is going to jail, after police caught him selling marijuana to cannery workers last year.

Paulo Paulo Jr. was ordered by the court to serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), as a condition of his 5-year probation, after being convicted for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; marijuana.

His sentence was handed down by Chief Justice Michael Kruse, along with Associate Judges Fa’amausili Pomele and Muasau T. Tofili.

Christy Dunn of the Attorney General’s Office, prosecuted the case while Acting Public Defender, Michael White represented the defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest unable to post a $10,000 surety bond.

When given the chance to address the court, Paulo Jr. apologized for what he did and asked for another chance to return home and serve his family. He said he’s truly remorseful for what happened and he will never commit a crime like this again in his life.

He said he wanted to go home to serve his parents because he owes them a lot.

His attorney asked the court to adopt the recommendation that both parties agreed to, which was contained in the plea agreement.

Moreover, he reminded the court that her client has already served a little over 8 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), and he must be credited for time served if he is ordered to serve a period of detention.

White said Paulo Jr. was born in Samoa, but raised in American Samoa since he was 4. “He attended school here in American Samoa where he graduated. This is his home,” he said.

He pointed out that his client’s immigration status is still valid until September this year. He asked the court to allow the client to stay in American Samoa.

According to White, Paulo Jr. is a young man who worked hard before he was arrested, and this is the first offense.

The court sentenced Paulo Jr to an imprisonment term of 5 years and a fine of $2,000. Execution of the imprisonment term is suspended, and Paulo Jr was placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions with which he has to comply.

He has to undertake a period of detention of 20 months at the TCF without release whatsoever. His period of detention shall be served as follows: After serving 12 months, the balance of detention of 8 months shall be stayed, pending order of the court.

Upon release from detention, the defendant shall depart the territory and remain outside of its border throughout the period of probation. However, given the Probation Office statements that the defendant early on admitted to his action, this condition will be stayed, pending further order of the court.

The court ordered Paulo Jr. to seek, obtain and secure gainful employment within 90 days upon release. He shall remain law abiding and shall submit himself to a random testing to make sure he’s clean from alcohol and illegal drugs.