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Men accused of kidnapping and drug violations appear in High Court

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Dist. Court hears the usual PPDs, overstayer pleas and probation violations

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The two men who were arrested and charged for violating local drug laws when police were searching for a 21-year-old female who was allegedly kidnapped by a man last year, entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Sharnel Sagote, 24, and Faasoo Savelio, 27, appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday morning for a Change of Plea hearing. Both were represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Sagote was initially charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. But under a plea agreement with the government, which was accepted by the court, Sagote pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge.

In court yesterday, Sagote admitted that on Nov. 1, 2018 he unlawfully possessed 2 small stamp sized baggies containing meth. The remaining charge against Sagote was dismissed under the plea agreement.

Savelio was initially charged with unlawful possession methamphetamine. But a plea agreement with the government, that was accepted by the court, allowed Savelio to plead 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.

Savelio, who entered the territory on a 30-day permit back in Nov. 2017 admits that on Nov. 1, 2018 he unlawfully possessed a glass pipe containing meth.

Sagote and Savelio will be sentenced May 3, 2019.



A man who pled guilty yesterday to public peace disturbance — under a plea agreement with the government — has been sentenced to 24 months probation under the condition that he depart the territory immediately and not return at anytime during his probation term.

According to what an Immigration officer told the court yesterday, Togafiti Miliona entered the territory on a 30-day  permit on Dec. 4, 2016

He was arrested and charged following an incident in Futiga last Wednesday, Feb. 20 when he was yelling profanities near a store.

Miliona is said to have fled the scene when cops arrived, but later returned to the same area, doing the same thing: yelling profanities.

He was initially charged with public peace disturbance and resisting arrest. But the latter was dismissed under a plea agreement that was accepted by the court yesterday.

In rendering sentence, Judge Elvis P. Patea told Miliona that if enters or attempts to re-enter the territory anytime during his 24-month probation term, he will be arrested, probation will be revoked, and a sentence will be imposed.

A certified copy of the court's judgement and sentence is to be sent to the Chief Immigration Officer so Miliona's name can be placed on the lookout list at Immigration.

Miliona was supposed to have departed the territory yesterday, on board the last flight to Samoa.


An overstayer who was sponsored by Peak 4 Contractors Inc., was supposed to have been on the flight back to Samoa yesterday afternoon, after the court sentenced him to 24 months probation under the condition that he depart the territory immediately.

Faafetai Iese, who entered the territory on a 30-day permit on Nov. 1, 2018 pled guilty to third degree assault under a plea agreement with the government. In return, the remaining charge of public peace disturbance was dismissed.

When given a chance to speak, Iese apologized for his actions.

Judge Elvis P. Patea warned Iese that if he tries to enter the territory at anytime during the next 24 months, his probation will be revoked and the court will impose a sentence.

A certified copy of the court's judgement and sentence is to be delivered to the Chief Immigration Officer, so Iese's name can be entered into the lookout list.

During proceedings yesterday, the government informed the court that they will not be pursuing felony charges.

The charges against Iese stem from an incident that occurred in Aoloau last Monday, Feb. 18, whereby Iese assaulted a co-worker by punching him in the face and using a piece of glass to cut the victim in the leg. Police say Iese was "very intoxicated" when he was picked up, and Iese allegedly told cops that he was trying "to avoid the devil."


A probationer who tested positive for marijuana has been given another chance.

Pania Pania appeared in District Court yesterday morning pursuant to an arrest warrant on an order to show cause.

Pania, a cannery worker, was sentenced in March 2018 to 24 months probation.

Judge Elvis P. Patea told Pania that he has "quite a ways to go" on probation. He then gave Pania another chance, releasing him on his own recognizance.

A Probation Officer who was in court told the judge that Pania has been complying with conditions of probation, with the exception of his positive drug test.

Judge Patea told Pania that if marijuana is available at his workplace or in the village, or wherever else, "keep your distance and stay away from it."

A status hearing is scheduled for March 15.


The first of three cases against Tie Lomon has been dismissed, under a plea agreement with the government. Yesterday morning, Lomon appeared in District Court and pled guilty to public peace disturbance in the second case. In the third case, Lomon pled guilty to contempt of court and third degree property damage, which was amended from the initial charge of trespassing. The two remaining charges in that case were dismissed.

A motion from defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Anna Whiles to dismiss the first two cases against Lomon, on the grounds of a speedy trial, were dismissed by Judge Elvis P. Patea yesterday.

For the second case, Lomon admits that he got into a fight at Veterans Memorial Stadium last year. He was released on his own recognizance for that case, after spending only one night at the TCF. In the third case, Lomon admits that on Jan. 11, 2019 he damaged the window of a home that he was peeping in to.

This went against a court order that he remain law abiding, as a condition of his release from the second case.

When given a chance to speak, Lomon apologized for his actions and said things happen for a reason,"to teach us lessons that we can learn from."

Lomon's history in District Court dates back to 2016, where he was brought in twice for underage drinking, once for trespassing, and again for public peace disturbance.

"2016 was a busy year for you, Mr. Lomon", said Judge Patea, who said he considered the recommendation of both counsels for probation.

Under the plea agreement, the first case against Lomon is dismissed.

For the second case, he is sentenced to 60 days imprisonment at the TCF for each count. The sentences are to run concurrently. Lomon will be credited with 45 days for time served.

For the third case, Lomon was sentenced to 20 days incarceration, credited for 1 day of time served.

He is remanded to the TCF to serve out the duration of his sentences.

In the meantime, there is a High Court matter pending against him, an order to show cause based on the District Court cases. Lomon is said to have failed to remain law abiding, and he also failed to make restitution.