TCF officer charged with smuggling contraband into the prison
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A Correctional Officer (C.O) at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) was arrested last week on the allegation that he helped to smuggle a large quantity of illegal drugs and cell phones into the TCF.
The government alleged that a woman (her named was mentioned in the court affidavit) went to the TCF and allegedly handed drugs and two cell phones to the TCF officer to give to an inmate who is serving a long sentenced for burglary, stealing and escape from confinement.
Ofisa Enoka Leifi Jr made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He’s scheduled to appear in court this Thursday for his preliminary examination.
Leifi Jr is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and one count of concealing an offense, all felonies.
District Court Judge Elvis Patea set bail at $30,000.
A Detective from the DPS Criminal Investigating Division (CID) was assigned to investigate the case of the TCF officer allegedly found in possession of what appeared to be methamphetamine at the TCF main office on Mar. 3, 2020 around 1:20p.m.
The government claims that it was revealed from the investigation that the suspect was on duty at the TCF on Mar. 3, 2020 from 6:00a.m to 6:00p.m, and was assigned to the ALPHA Building.
Around 9:00a.m on the same morning, an Alpha inmate, Pati Lepou requested the suspect if he could visit the main office so he could give money to his girlfriend. The suspect denied the inmate’s request and later volunteered to hand carry the inmate’s money to the his girlfriend said to be waiting at the TCF front gate.
As the suspect walked over to the main gate, he was observed by a police lieutenant from inside the main office opening the main gate and walking outside to a point where he could not be seen. The police lieutenant’s vision was blocked by the high concrete wall surrounding the outside perimeter of the TCF compound. It didn’t take long before the suspect returned to the compound and walked towards the Alpha building.
At about noon time, the suspect claimed that an inmate by the name of Lafaele Tauiliili requested if he (suspect) could get his tickets from the main office. The suspect then proceeded to the main office at the front and made a request to a Police Sergeant regarding inmate’s tickets.
At this time, a female (who was named inside the affidavit) appeared at the main gate and allegedly handed a newspaper to the suspect. During this occurrence the police lieutenant, who had observed the suspect earlier, could see both the suspect and the woman at the main gate.
The government claims that the suspect was later questioned by the police lieutenant regarding what the (suspect) allegedly received from the woman and replied it was a newspaper and a cigarette for inmate Lepou. The police lieutenant however was suspicious of the suspect’s actions and asked him to empty his pockets.
The suspect then brought out an opened long Kool cigarette pack, a newspaper and a cell phone. A police captain, who was also present at the main office, patted down the suspect where he (the suspect) later removed a Benson cigarette pack and two more cell phones. The latter cigarette pack was observed taped with a clear adhesive tape.
The tape was unwrapped and the pack of cigarettes given to the police captain where he discovered a white paper wrapping a small zip lock baggie allegedly containing what appeared to be crystalline substances. It was a large amount of the crystalline substance inconsistent for personal use.
The white crystalline substances was later tested by a police detective and was positive for methamphetamine.
Of the three cell phones found in the suspect’s pocket, he told the police lieutenant and captain that the two cell phones other than his cell phone were seized from the Alpha Building.
Investigators transported the suspect to the Tafuna Substation for an interview. After the suspect was warned of his constitutional rights, he then agreed to speak to investigators regarding the allegation against him.
The government claims that the suspect first denied having knowledge of the cigarette pack that was allegedly given to him by the woman contained methamphetamine, but later admitted Lepou wanted to give money to the woman to buy drugs. He also allegedly admitted and confessed to investigators that he had to take the money from inmate Lepou to the woman.
He also at first, lied to the investigators that he never went outside the main gate but later admitted having gone outside and saw the woman sitting behind the wheel of a grey vehicle.
According to the suspect, he handed the woman the money from inmate Lepou then immediately returned to the compound.
While stationed at the Alpha Building during lunch time, Lepou called out to the suspect and said, “La ua i luma” (She’s in the front). The suspect then proceeded to the main office and requested if he could get the tickets for inmate Tauiliili. The suspect later admitted that while he was waiting for the police sergeant searching for the tickets, he was looking around to see if the woman had arrived at the main gate.
A few moments later, the suspect saw the woman walking up to the main gate, and allegedly gave him a rolled newspaper, containing a Benson pack and two cell phones to take over to Lepou. The suspect told investigators that after he allegedly received the stuff from the woman, he then knew for sure that there were illegal drugs inside the rolled newspaper and that he had accepted and then kept the items in his pocket without anyone knowing.
The suspect also admitted to investigators that he knew that he was aiding the smuggling of drugs and contraband to the inmates from the woman. He also told investigators that he did not count the money from inmate Lepou but could only remember seeing six (6) $20 bills and several dollar bills.
The suspect told investigators that he also aided inmate Lepou almost three weeks ago. He stated that the inmate asked if if he (the suspect) could sneak to the main gate to get his cigarette pack, shades and cell phone from his girlfriend waiting outside the compound. He told investigators that he walked outside from the compound and saw the inmate’s girlfriend sitting inside a car behind the wheel.
As he walked towards the inmate’s girlfriend, he noticed that the girlfriend was talking on the cell phone and mentioned his name. He then heard the inmate’s girlfriend say, “Okay he is here, I will give it to him.”
The suspect then allegedly received a cell phone, black shades and a Benson cigarette pack from the woman and returned to the compound and made his way to the TCF Cafeteria and allegedly handled the items to inmate Lepou. Lepou thanked him and secretly gave him $80.
The suspect further told investigators that the woman who allegedly gave him the contraband three weeks ago was the same woman that he helped this time around smuggle in items to Lepou.
Samoa News understands that the government will file charges against the woman and inmate Lepou later.