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Drug defendant Jarrell Randall, whose home in Nu'uuli was raided by police early this year, was sentenced last Friday to 20 months imprisonment, which is part of his 5 years probation.

However, the court stayed all but 9 months in jail, which resulted in Randall being released last Friday since he has been in custody for nine months following his arrest. Randall was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.

He was further ordered to undergo and complete drug and alcohol counseling. He is subject to random searches as well as drug and alcohol testing to ensure that he complies with all conditions of his probation, which include not being involved in alcohol or drugs.

Randall was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, but under a plea agreement with the government he pled guilty to an amended charge of possessing a small amount of methamphetamine, a crime punishable by up to 5 years in jail or a fine of not more than $5,000.

During sentencing Randall apologized to the court for the crime he committed and asked for leniency from the court. He also apologized to his family for the crime that has tarnished the family's name. He promised never to commit such crime again.

His attorney Public Defender Ruth Risch-Fuatagavi requested a probative sentence, which would allow the defendant to return home to assist his family, especially his mother. However, the government was completely opposed to a probative sentence, and Assistant Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau argued that the court should impose some jail time.

Folau said Randall made the decision to possess methamphetamine and therefore a jail term would be needed because of his crime. She recalled for the court that in 1995 the defendant had been charged with possession of illegal drugs-but the defendant is again asking for another chance and should not be given another chance, she stated.

POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH HARASSMENT

The government has amended a public peace disturbance charge to harassment in the case of a police officer who was taken into custody more than a week ago for allegedly threatening his wife.

Samoa News does not identify the defendant by name in these domestic cases to protect the victim. Court information revealed that the police officer has a similar case that has been transmitted to the Attorney General's Office for review and possible prosecution.

The amended charge was made last Friday when the defendant appeared for another District Court hearing. The officer has been released on his own recognizance and the court has ordered that he not make any contact with his wife.

He is also prohibited from maintaining any dangerous weapon such as a gun and if he had a gun in his possession the defendant was turn it into the police. His next court appearance is set for early December.

According to a police affidavit, the complaining witness contacted the Tafuna police substation saying that her husband had threatened to shoot her after she called him to ask the whereabouts of the ATM card that had been inside her wallet, which was inside her car.

She said the husband stated that he did not have it and she asked another question- to which her husband replied, "I will come there and shoot you," the affidavit further alleges.

The complaining witness immediately hung up the phone and called the police, who told her to come to the substation, the government says.

SOLOMONA PATI

The man arrested last Monday at the District Court for his alleged role in the 2007 wahoo case selling scheme claims that he is not the person involved in this case but the government maintains that they have the right person in custody.

Solomona Pati, aka Simati Pati, is charged with one count each of stealing, embezzlement and forgery in the theft of several cases of wahoo from the now closed COS Samoa Packing. He was taken into custody when he showed up to get a court clearance in order to renew his immigration ID card.

Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag confirmed to Samoa News that they have the right person in custody. He said the defendant is one of 14 individuals initially charged in this case, but only 12 could be prosecuted, which left only Pati and one other person who the government had tried unsuccessfully to locate.

Pati on the other hand told Samoa News that he was never involved in this case and he never left the territory to avoid prosecution. He said when Samoa Packing was officially closed in September 2009 he was still working at the cannery, and that his division was the last of the Samoa Packing divisions to be closed down.

Poag said the government is prepared to make an offer to the defense and if not accepted, the government is also prepared to proceed forward prosecuting this case.

District Court John Ward II requested the government to find out if it is able to move this case forward, given the fact that Samoa Packing is no longer in business in the territory and the lead investigator in the case is no longer with the Department of Public Safety.

Samoa News reporter Ausage Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.



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