LATEST DRUG CASE ALLEGES DRUGS SENT FROM MANU’A
A man from Nu’uuli is being held behind bars on $20,000 bail on one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana — a felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
The arrest of Joseph Ilimaleota was made after police executed a search warrant at his residence and found baggies containing a green leafy substance which later tested positive as marijuana. Detectives with the Vice and Narcotics division conducted the search last week Friday.
According to the government’s case, police received information from a Confidential Informant (CI) that Ilimaleota was selling drugs that he gets from Manu’a. Court filings say the CI told police he met the defendant at a party in 2012 and they became friends.
“The CI heard Ilimaleota talk about how he gets marijuana from a family member in Manu’a and upon receiving the marijuana, Ilimaleota (allegedly) hand-rolls the marijuana and sells it in Tutuila.” The government further claims the CI heard from the defendant that he keeps a portion of that money and the rest is sent back to Manu’a.
It’s alleged the CI informed police he saw marijuana at the defendant’s residence in Nu’uuli last week and the defendant would be getting more marijuana from Manu’a. The CI told police he witnessed Ilemaleota carrying around a small box which contained close to 100 marijuana joints and alleges the defendant was selling them on the street.
At the execution of the search warrant last Friday, police found a baggie of marijuana. Court filings say the defendant admitted to police that the baggie was his and that it had been sent from a family member in Manu’a.
MAN IN SEX CASE GETS DEPORTED BACK TO HOME COUNTRY
A man who pled guilty in a sexually related case is to depart the territory at the completion of his 20 month jail sentence. Eti Ponali, who pled with the court for a second chance during his sentencing hearing, was initially charged with rape, sodomy, deviate sexual assault and sexual abuse first degree.
However, in the plea agreement read in open court, the defendant pled guilty to deviate sexual assault and sexual abuse, first degree. Sentencing was handed down by Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.
The defendant’s apology was to his family, his parents, his sponsor, the government, the court, and especially to the victim and her family. Ponali asked the court to please give him a second chance, telling the court they hold the key to his future.
Assistant Public Defender Mike White pointed out his client has expressed remorse and how he's been embarrassed by his own actions. White also informed the court this was a “one time” incident for which the defendant has been in jail for more than six months, because bail was denied due to his immigration status.
White asked the court to allow the defendant to return to Samoa, where he's from, to serve the remainder of his sentence. Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe noted that the government does not object to probation and deferred sentencing recommendations to the court.
Richmond sentenced the defendant to five years in jail, however execution of sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for seven years on the condition he serve twenty months in jail. Upon serving twenty months, Ponali must depart the territory and he cannot contact the victim directly or indirectly.
Ponali was also ordered to be registered as a sex offender and undergo HIV testing as mandated by law.
According to the government’s case, police met with the father of the 15-year-old girl, who informed them his daughter had hickies/ love bites on her neck, which he asked her about.
Court filings say a woman from their church told the father it was the defendant who had given his daughter love bites on her neck, so he then reported the incident to police.
The girl told police that she had sexual intercourse with the defendant during which he made love bites/ hickies on her neck and she also had sex with him for five minutes. During police questioning, the defendant admitted he had had sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old girl.
MAN IN STEALING CASE GETS 20 MONTHS IN JAIL
Nathaniel Siulua pleaded with the court for a second chance, pointing out he’s remorseful for his actions. Siulua was before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr for his sentencing hearing last week Friday. The defendant told the court he had learned from his mistakes, and knows he will not repeat it because it’s given his family a bad name.
“This will be my first and last time I will come before this court — my time spent in jail has taught me a lesson,” he stated. Public Defender Douglas Fiaui informed the court the defendant saw an opportunity and he took it, this was not premeditated and the items in this case were returned.
Fiaui also pleaded with the court to give the defendant a second chance, given that his father is ill and the defendant is needed to care for his father who’ll be traveling off island to seek medical attention.
Siulua pled guilty to two counts of stealing and disposing stolen property, and was sentenced to seven years for each count; however the court ordered they run concurrently.
The court then moved to suspend the execution of sentence under certain conditions. Those conditions are that the defendant serve 28 months in jail, and cannot be released unless for medical need or by court order. The defendant was also ordered to undergo behavioral counseling and fined $1,000.
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