FATU VAGANA ADMITS TO SMUGGLING DRUGS FROM APIA
Fatu Vagana, who was charged along with a Lady Naomi crew member with smuggling marijuana into the territory last year has admitted to bringing marijuana in to the territory, with intent to sell.
Vagana and his co-defendant Kerisimasi were each charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession with intent to distribute. Last month, Kerisimasi pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of controlled substance while the more serious charge of intent to distribute was dismissed.
Last week, Vagana pled guilty to the unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge, and in return for his plea the government moved to dismiss the lesser charge.
The intent to distribute count is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
According to the plea agreement, Vagana admitted he had 471 marijuana joints, which he received from the Lady Naomi Crew member from Samoa. The defendant also admitted he met with the Lady Naomi Crew member to arrange the delivery of the marijuana joints from Samoa.
According to the government’s case, Vice and Narcotics were informed of alleged illegal activities going on at Vagana’s residence in Aoloau. The informant said Vagana would come to work with loose marijuana and hand rolled marijuana joints and during breaks Vagana allegedly sold marijuana to people at his work place.
A search warrant was executed on Vagana and police began surveillance on him when the Lady Naomi arrived in Port. It’s alleged Vagana picked up Kerisimasi at the wharf when all the passengers were through with clearance from Immigration and Customs.
Police found in the vehicle three bundles which tested positive as marijuana. According to the government’s case, when police questioned Kerisimasi he said he came from Apia with the package to be delivered to “someone in American Samoa who would be calling him.” Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the pair on March 21, 2014.
BAKER SENTENCED TO TIME SERVED OF THREE DAYS
The baker who failed to deliver a wedding cake she was paid to bake, which led to her arrest and criminal charges, was sentenced to time served of three days and fined $500.
The baker, Sianini Foster of Pago Pago was charged with stealing, a class C; however, in a plea agreement with the government, she pled guilty to misdemeanor stealing, amended from the felony count.
According to the government’s case, on Dec. 15, 2012 a woman filed a complaint with the police, where she told police she had paid Foster $920 to make a wedding cake, but on the wedding day the family was told there was no cake and the defendant could not be reached.
The defendant during sentencing apologized for her actions noting she’s remorseful over what occurred and noted it will not happen again.
PLEA DEAL OFFERED IN SEX ABUSE CASE INVOLVING YOUNG BOY
A man arrested on Christmas day and charged with sexual abuse after allegations were lodged that he touched a young man inappropriately, was before the court yesterday for his change of plea hearing.
Sivai Te’o is charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. The change of plea was scheduled for yesterday, however the court was informed the defendant’s lawyer was in the hospital.
According to the government’s case, the incident came to light when a woman contacted police that the defendant had touched her son in a sexual manner.
Court filings say police spoke to the 15-year old boy (who is the complaining witness in the case) and he stated that he heard a knock at the front door and when he opened it, it was the defendant who had come asking for his mom, however it is alleged the defendant touched the boy inappropriately, and made lewd gestures and remarks to the boy.
Court filings say Te’o told police he was drunk when he went to the victim’s house. The defendant will be in court later this week for his change of plea hearing.