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Government charges Iliili couple with possession and intent to distribute meth

Unlawful firearms allegedly involved
reporters@samoanews.com

Official charges facing an Ili’ili couple are unlawful possession of a controlled substance of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled substance,methamphetamine, possession of an unlicensed firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, while Samuel Tupuola— a former cop— faces an additional count of resisting arrest.

The charges against Tupuola and his live-in girlfriend Teroa Faletoi are the result of a search warrant executed by the Vice and Narcotics Division.

Tupuola has faced drug charges before, but they were dismissed as part of the plea agreement with the government that he would testify in a jury trial against a drug defendant several years back.

The couple appeared before District Court Judge John Ward and are both represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley. Tupuola’s bail remains at $100,000 and bail for Faletoi remains at $75,000.

The intent to distribute meth charge is a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both, while the unlawful possession of meth is also a felony punishable of between five to 10 years, a fine of between $5,000 to $20,000 or both. The possession of a firearm, ammunition and resisting arrest are class A misdemeanors which are punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

Court filings say, upon executing a search warrant on Tupuola’s properties, police approached Sam at his workplace, the LBJ hospital, on Wednesday where he works as security. Police informed the defendant at this time about the search warrant and the defendant told the police officer that he had to pick up his check, and then took off running.

It's alleged Tupuola was caught by police officers 15 yards from where he was first approached. According to the government’s case, when Tupuola was lying flat on his stomach it appeared as if he was trying to hide something and when he was cuffed he was lifted up, and a yellow container and three plastic baggies of methamphetamine were uncovered.

Court filings say that inside the container were 20 cut up straws with both ends sealed containing methamphetamine. Police found $575 cash in the defendant’s wallet and pockets. Police conducted tests on the drugs found on Tupuola, which tested positive as methamphetamine and Tupuola was informed.

The government alleges on the same day the police searched the defendant’s silver Nissan while the defendant was present and police found numerous drug paraphernalia and a Daisy power line 717 BB gun. Court filings say the couple’s residence in Ili’li was also searched and Faletoi was present during this search.

Police found inside the bedroom a medium size plastic Ziploc baggies containing methamphetamine, a hand gun which is a special 38 with special 38 ammunition, $1,000 cash, three glass pipes commonly used to smoke "ice" and approximately 1,200 empty Ziploc plastic baggies and a digital scale.

The government claims that after the execution of the search warrant, Faletoi was taken to the police station and told police that her boyfriend Tupuola used and sold methamphetamine.

Court filings says the very next day police questioned Tupuola where he admitted to the possession of the methamphetamine and that he also sold the drugs. He also admitted to possession of the guns and ammunition.

The preliminary examination hearing for the pair is set for later this week.



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