CONVICTED DRUG DEFENDANT FACES NEW DRUG CHARGES
New drug charges have been filed against a convicted drug defendant on probation, who was released from the Tafuna Correctional Facility last year after Chief Probation Officer Silivelio Iosefo vouched before Chief Justice Michel Kruse that Tupolo Hodges had truly repented and learned a lesson.
Iosefo during that hearing revealed to the court that drugs had been found inside the TCF and given that Tupolo had been a model prisoner and the Territorial Correctional Facility was not a model prison, he asked the court to release Hodges under his supervision, which Kruse granted.
The new case against Hodges, charges him with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and three charges of possession of a prohibited weapon.
The drug charge is a felony punishable from five to ten years in jail, a fine not less than $5,000 and not more than $20,000 or both, while all three weapon charges are class A misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.
Hodges made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday and is being held on bail of $15,000. He is represented by Acting Public Defender Douglas Fiaui.
According to the government’s case, on February 14, 2013 the Vice and Narcotics Detectives executed a search warrant on Hodges, his vehicle and his residence. It’s alleged when police were heading to Alofau to execute the search warrant, they met up with the defendant’s car and saw the defendant exiting a store. He was then served with the search warrant.
Police conducted a personal search of the defendant, going through his pockets, where money and a cell phone were discovered along with a black pouch which contained a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine. Court filings say police also discovered in the pouch a zip log bag plastic baggie containing methamphetamine, and a straw cut diagonally, which is commonly used to scoop methamphetamine.
Police asked the defendant if there were any other illegal substances in the car to which the defendant replied "no" and he was immediately advised of his constitutional rights and was then escorted to the East Substation in Fagaitua.
According to the government’s case, police searched the house where they allegedly found drug paraphernalia such as surgical scissors with a burn tip end, a gun shaped lighter, a digital scale, a 22 rifle, and ammunition.
The rifle was discovered inside one of the bedrooms of Hodges residence, and it is alleged that it was loaded when it was found by police. The defendant refused to sign the waiver of constitutional rights, but stated that the meth was for his personal use.
In 2010 Hodges was sentenced for similar conduct, following his voluntary guilty plea to unlawful possession of a controlled substance— namely methamphetamine— with the intent to distribute. Hodges was sentenced to serve 40 months as a condition of his ten years probation, but was released early based on the assurance of the probation officer.
FIREMAN DENIES ASSAULT AND PROPERTY DAMAGE CHARGES
A Senior firefighter in his 50’s is facing charges of second degree assault, property damage first degree and public peace disturbance. Falealo Savea Mauga, who’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White was arraigned in High Court yesterday morning. Presiding over the arraignment was Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.
Mauga entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charges against him. According to the government’s case, the defendant allegedly threw rocks at a vehicle which injured the driver and damaged the vehicles. It's alleged a police officer saw the fireman throwing the rocks at the victim.
The officer who witnessed the incident noted that the defendant threw the rocks when there was a woman and child in the bed of the truck. It’s alleged the rocks thrown by the defendant struck the victim on the body and face.
The victim suffered contusions, abrasions and swelling to his face and also sustained a two centimeter laceration on his head and was treated at the LBJ hospital. The vehicle sustained damage on the driver’s side, left door, and the bed of the truck will require repair in the amount of $2,125.
JESS SHANE POGIA HELD ON BAIL OF $20,000 ON SEVERAL CRIMINAL COUNTS
A man in his 20’s is facing two charges of second degree burglary and two counts of stealing which are all class C felonies, punishable up to seven years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to the twice amount gained from the commission up to a $20,000 or both fine and jail time.
The defendant who made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday, is held on bail of $20,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White. According to the government’s case, a man reported to police that on August 9, 2012 his residence was broken into and where his piggy bank containing $200, a pair of slippers, several baseball caps and miscellaneous items and a 22 rifle were stolen.
It’s alleged a witness informed police that he saw Pogia remove items from the residence in question. Court filings say the defendant was seen with a DVD player, two bottles of wine, a piggy bank, a diamond watch and a gold chain.
At the residence where Pogia was staying police confiscated a DVD player and this item was identified by the victim as his property. The defendant admitted to police that he had broken into the victim’s residence twice and gained entrance through a hole in the wall and taken the piggy bank, DVD player, chain, watch, baseball caps, slippers and a 22rifle.
Pogia told police that he used the money from the piggy bank to buy food and sold the rifle for $130.
ASSAULT CASE OVER LOAN IN HIGH COURT
Sinave Tupuola, who is facing felony assault and public peace disturbance charges after he allegedly struck another man with a beer bottle was arraigned in the High Court yesterday where he denied the criminal counts against him.
Tupuola is held on bail of $5,000 and is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White. The matter was presided over by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond.
According to the government’s case, on February 8, 2013 a man walked into the Leone substation requesting assistance while his head was wrapped with a shirt which had blood on it. The victim— who was under the influence of alcohol— told police that Tupuola, who was also intoxicated, was upset because he wanted to get a loan of $300 from the victim but he only received $200.
The victim further stated the defendant grabbed his beer and hit the victim on his head. As a result the victim suffered two lacerations on his forehead. Police spoke to two witnesses who saw the defendant strike the victim on the head.