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Samoan sentenced in federal drug case: 235 months in jail

fili@samoanews.com

Drug defendant Simeta E. Taulua Jr., aka ‘Jymm’ was sentenced Thursday at the federal court in Honolulu to 235 months imprisonment and 5 years of supervised released. U.S. District Court Leslie K. Kobayashi imposed several conditions of release which include not committing any crime and prohibited from possession of drugs and firearms.

Based on the defense' request, the court recommended to the Federal Bureau of Prison for the defendant to serve the jail term at the federal prison at Terminal Island, Calif., or any prison closer to the greater Los Angeles area, according to court records.

The defendant must also complete 500 hours of a comprehensive drug treatment program.

Taulua was charged in 2010 under a two count superseding indictment and last year entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors pleading guilty to count one of drug possession with intent to distribute while count two is dismissed.

For the guilty plea, Taulua admitted that on Aug. 9, 2010, he sent a text message to Patrick Lesui’s phone notifying him that a courier, Angel Lonero, was traveling to Hawai’i and that Lesui should be prepared to give the courier money for her return trip.

Taulua then sent another text to Lesui providing the courier’s phone number and name of hotel where she was staying in Waikiki, according to the plea agreement.

Federal agents used Lesui’s phone to contact Lonero to arrange a meeting location. The following day, federal agents met up with Lonero, who was then arrested in Waikiki. Agents found in her bag about 4 pounds of methamphetamine - which were later tested in a federal lab and found to be 98% pure meth, the agreement further states.

The plea agreement also states that there were about six or seven occasions in which Taulua supplied Lonero with “multi-pound amounts” of methamphetamine for transport to Honolulu from California. Additionally, Taulua paid Lonero a maximum of $2,000 per trip.

And if the case would have gone to trial, evidence would show that Lucky Diamond Mapuni drove the courier to the airport and supplied her with an empty knapsack that Lonero later exchanged at the Los Angeles airport with American Airlines employee John Leilua for a knapsack containing methamphetamine, the plea agreement states.

Lesui, Lonero, Leilua and Mapuni are also charged separately in this drug case which are all pending at the federal court in Honolulu.



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