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Meth dealer gets 20 years — first ‘intent to distribute’ conviction in over 10 years Deputy AG says

American Samoa High Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Convicted drug dealer Semi Sago is now behind bars after he was sentenced by the court to 20 years in prison and a fine of $20,000, for two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute (Methamphetamine), and 10 years with a fine of up to $20,000 for Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

The two prison terms are to be served concurrently.

Sago was convicted in a four-day trial which ended on April 11, 2024 when a jury returned after two hours of deliberation, with a unanimous guilty verdict against the defendant.

According to court documents, the Vice and Narcotics Special Unit served a search warrant for illegal drugs and firearms at the residence of Semi Sago in Aua, in the early morning hours of September 27, 2022.

Officers found the defendant sleeping in his bedroom. When he awakened, he reached for an object near the window and for the safety of the officers, he was handcuffed and detained.

A search of the defendant’s bedroom was carried out with the assistance of a certified K-9 Officer and his K-9 dog, who found a box that contained $860 cash and 7 cut-up straws filled with a crystalline substance. Other items found in the bedroom included a glass pipe, small plastic bags and notebooks.

A field test was made of the crystalline substances found during the search, and all tested positive for methamphetamine.

A forensic chemist from the DEA lab that conducted a chemical analysis of the cut up straws of crystalline substances seized in the drug search, traveled to American Samoa to testify at trial.

The Vice and Narcotics Special Unit was assisted by Department of Public Safety (DPS) detectives from the Criminal Investigation Unit in serving the search warrant and investigation.

Defendant Semi Sago's sentencing was heard on June 12, 2024 and according to Deputy Attorney General Roy J.D. Hall, Jr. who prosecuted the case, this is believed to be the first conviction in American Samoa of a defendant with the intent to distribute unlawful drugs in over 10 years.