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One of the 3 men in a westside drug case enters into plea agreement with the gov’t

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the three defendants arrested after armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed two search warrants earlier this year in June, in Iliili and Tafuna, has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Alesana Ta’avili, who is out on a $5,000 cash bond, appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Ta’avili, 36, was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by 5-10 years in jail, a fine between $5,000-$20,000, or both.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Ta’avili pled guilty to a lesser felony charge of unlawful possession of meth. Ta’avili admits that on June 8, 2018 he had on him a glass pipe containing meth.

The government claims that on the night in question, a red truck was stopped by police in the Iliili area. The driver was later identified as Ta’avili, who was informed about the search warrant. During a body search on Ta’avili, police found a glass pipe containing a crystalline substance in the front left pocket of his pants.

In his statement to police, Ta’avili said he found the glass pipe in front of an Asian store, picked it up, and put it in his pocket. He told police the name of a person (Kaleti Utu) he said sells drugs.

Ta’avili is will be sentenced Dec. 5th

His two co-defendants, Utu and Lumepa Esekia, were both arrested inside Utu’s vehicle. Utu, who is still in custody unable to post a $20,000 cash bond is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, both class D felonies.

Esekia on the other hand has been sentenced to 5 years probation for unlawful possession of methamphetamine, under the condition that he serve 20 months at the Territory Correctional Facility (TCF).