One of three defendants in drug case pleads guilty — two still awaiting court
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the three defendants arrested after armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed two search warrants earlier last year in January in Ottoville and Tafuna has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Falaniko Iosua, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond appeared in High Court this week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Iosua, 43, was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony punishable by not less than five or more than ten years in jail, and a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $20,000, or both.
However, in a plea agreement with the government, Iosua pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. With his guilty plea, Iosua admits that on Jan. 28, 2019 he unlawfully possessed two small baggies which contained meth.
According to terms of the plea agreement, the government claims that in January of last year, when several police detectives executed a search warrant on a blue truck that was parked in front of a store in Nuuuli, two men and a woman were inside the truck, and one of them was Iosua.
During a body search of Iosua, officers discovered the two small baggies containing meth in his front right pocket.
When asked what the baggie contained, Iosua said it was methamphetamine. He told police that the three of them inside the truck had gone to Taputimu to deliver meth to two men earlier that day, and the person had bought $500 worth of meth from the owner of the truck, who was later identified as Mikaele Alefosio, one of the co-defendants in this case.
Iosua also told police that he had seen a lot of money and meth inside Alefosio’s black pouch while he was inside Alefosio’s vehicle. He added that the two baggies that were in his pocket were given to him by Alefosio, free of charge. He said he helped his friend Alefosio sell meth for 6 months before they were caught, and Alefosio would sell the substance from his home in Ottoville, or deliver meth if people didn't come to his home.
Iosua’s plea agreement was accepted by the court and sentencing is scheduled for May 16 at 9:00a.m.
The cases against the other two co-defendants in this case, Alefosio and Mareta Lolenese, are still pending in High Court, and they are scheduled to appear in court next month for their pretrial conference.
Alefosio is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine with intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, both class D felonies.
Alefosio is still in custody unable to post a $25,000 cash bond, while Lolenese, who is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony, was released on a $1,500 surety bond.