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Woman convicted of felony stealing is now in court for drugs

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A female probationer was arrested and taken into police custody last week.

Caroline Purcell made her initial appearance before District Court Judge Pro Tem Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde and bond has been set at $5,000

She is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methaphetamine), a felony punishable by imprisonment between 5-10 years; a fine between $5,000-$20,000 or both.

If Purcell is able to post bond, the court has ordered that she remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and she must surrender her travel documents to the government attorney. She is also not to make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses.

According to the government’s case, Purcell was arrested over the weekend on the allegation that she disturbed the public peace. She was taken to the DPS Tafuna Substation for questioning before she was escorted the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).

When Purcell arrived at the TCF front desk, police patted her down again, to make sure she wasn’t bringing any contraband inside the facility.

It was during a body search that a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance fell from Purcell’s pants. (The white crystalline substance was later tested and yielded positive results for meth).

When asked about the glass pipe, Purcell allegedly told police it was given to her by a friend.

Purcell was then taken back to the Tafuna Substation for a second interview, during which she told police that she got the glass pipe from a friend but she doesn’t smoke meth.


Purcell was convicted of felony stealing in May of last year, and subsequently  sentenced to 5 years probation under the condition that she serve 12 months detention at the TCF.

However, she was given a huge break by the court when she was credited for the 4 months she served in pretrial confinement; the remaining 8 months was stayed, as long as she complied with all conditions of probation.  She was also ordered to pay a $500 fine within 8 months, and secure gainful employment.