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Two brothers on probation — one appears not to have learned his lesson

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The younger of the two brothers who is on probation for a drug conviction from last year is now back to court on the same allegation — unlawful possession of an illegal drug.

The younger brother, Johnny Banse made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

He is charged with a single count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.


On Aug. 29th, 2021, Vice and Narcotics Unit (VNU) were informed of a matter where traffic officers stopped a vehicle during their DUI Enforcement, for seatbelt and broken lights and later discovered drugs upon inventory of the vehicle’s contents.

A detective from the VNU was assigned to investigate the matter and he quickly responded to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to meet up with the traffic officers who initiated the stop.

The traffic officer told the lead investigator that while performing their duties on that night, they observed the driver of an old pick-up truck without a seatbelt and broken brake lights. That’s when they pulled over the truck and approached the driver.

Two male occupants were observed in inside the vehicle — the driver, Johnny Banse (defendant) and his brother, Wayne Banse. Johnny did not possess his driver license when asked for it by officers, therefore, they were both detained and transported to the TPS for further investigation.

Upon arrival at the TPS, the passenger was released and the driver was cited and issued citations for traffic violations. However, due to the unsafe condition of the vehicle, the decision was made to impound the vehicle until and after a safety inspection.

An inventory of the vehicle was then conducted in the presence of the Johnny before he went home. During the inventory, officers discovered a simoi baggie containing green leafy substance inside a black sling purse.

When asked about the discovered items, Johnny informed officers that the black sling purse belonged to him but doesn’t know who owns the green leafy substance.

Items recovered were later referred to VNU for further investigation. The green leafy substance was tested and it yielded a positive result for THC, the active compound in marijuana.

Johnny was Mirandized, but, refused to sign the form, and exercised his right to remain silent.


The Banse brothers, in their previous case, were each sentenced to 5 years probation and a $2,000 fine when they appeared before Chief Justice Michael Kruse for sentencing in June of this year.

The brothers, Wayne Jack Banse and his younger brother, Johnny Banse, were released from custody in May after the court accepted their guilty plea.

Each defendant was charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $20,000, or both.

However, in a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the Court last month, each defendant pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of meth.

Each defendants was ordered to serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without any release whatsoever except for medical reasons or by order of the court. Execution of period of detention is as follows; the court ordered each defendant to serve 114 days at TCF. Each defendant was credited with the time they already served at TCF while awaiting the outcome of their cases, which was 114 days.

Each defendant was ordered to secure gainful employment; pay a fine of $2,000 and refrain from consuming or possessing any alcohol or illegal drugs, and submit themselves for drug testing upon the demand of Probation or any police officer.

They were each also ordered to visit the probation office once a month and attend and complete substance abuse counseling.

Their case occurred shortly before midnight on Dec. 27, 2020, when three police officers from the Patrol Division of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) stopped a vehicle for speeding and broken taillights, and the driver was found not have a valid driver’s license — it had expired in 2015. This led to vehicle being impounded and inventoried.

During inventory of the vehicle, officers discovered a hand rolled cigarette with green leaf in it, and a roach like substance inside the center console, and a neon cut-up straw containing a white crystalline substance (which tested positive for meth) was found underneath the backseat.

The Vice and Narcotics Unit (VNU) was informed of the discovery for further investigation. During the VNU investigation, the Banse brother said they wished to remain silent and refused to make a statement to investigators.

Wayne was then booked and his property inventoried. During the process, a marijuana roach was discovered inside his right pocket. He was later transported to the TCF.

During his booking process, Johnny was observed carrying a black sling bag and was asked who it belonged to and he replied it was his.

Johnny was then booked and his property inventoried, and a simoi baggie containing 11 hand rolled marijuana joints was found in his left pocket. Discovered inside the sling bag was a glass pipe (commonly used to smoke meth) and loose green leafy substances.