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Questions surface about drug tests administered by Probation Office

Photo of LBJ Hospital sign
Probation test says positive, but LBJ test says negative

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was sentenced to 5 years probation will be appearing in court today and the hope is that the presiding judge will honor the results of the drug test he took at the LBJ Medical Center, instead of the one that was administered by the Probation Office.

And the reason is this:  Samoa News has obtained a copy of Iosefo Sagote's "drug test result form" which notes that on Tuesday, December 18, 2018, Sagote underwent a "random" test for

  • MET/Amphetamine;
  • Marijuana;
  • Cocaine;
  • Opiates; and
  • Benzodiazepine.

According to the LBJ's screening results, Sagote was negative for all five.

But family members say Sagote was tested earlier that same day by the Probation Office, during one of his required visits, and the results came back positive for both marijuana and meth.

This isn't the first time Sagote has been tested by the Probation Office, and it also isn't the first time he's tested positive.

Earlier this year in June, he tested positive for marijuana and Sagote allegedly admitted to the Probation Office, at the time, that he had smoked ‘weed’ three weeks prior.

Sagote's legal troubles started after he was held at the Tafuna Airport following a search of his bag, which uncovered what his family describes as "crumbs" of marijuana — "not even enough to roll a joint" — in a piece of foil.

He was returning from a trip to Savaii.

According to Sagote's family, after the incident at the airport, "they let him go" but then "cops showed up and arrested him three months later for those crumbs they found during the search at the airport."

Sagote eventually was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a class D felony; and attempt to import a controlled substance (marijuana), a class A misdemeanor.

His family posted his bond and he was released.

According to a family member, Sagote is scheduled to appear in court today for a hearing on probation violation, which resulted from they call the "false positive" drug test administered by the Probation Office.

"He hasn't been doing drugs and so the positive results for meth and weed were shocking to us," said a family member who spoke to Samoa News yesterday. "He insisted that he take a drug test at the LBJ Hospital and all his blood work came back negative."

"My main concern is about other people who are on probation and don't have the money to pay for a drug test at the LBJ. What happens to them if they want to challenge the results of the drug tests administered by the Probation Office?"

The family member continued, "Perhaps the test kits at the Probation Office are defective and this is something that needs to be looked in to. Not everyone has the money to get blood work done at the hospital."

Samoa News understands that for the blood work and drug tests like the one Sagote took, LBJ Hospital charges $197.