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Alleged marijuana seller charged

A man who allegedly confessed to police he’s been selling marijuana joints for five years made his initial appearance in the District Court on Friday. 

Pago Plaza security guard Matafua Mataipule is facing charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (marijuana) and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute.

The charges are in connection with a police search of Mataipule where police confiscated more than 10 marijuana joints found in his possession. According to court documents the defendant had been under police surveillance for alleged sale of illegal drugs.

Court filings say on January 18, 2012 vice and narcotics officers received a tip from a Confidential Informant (CI) that a security guard at the Pago Plaza had just given him a single hand-rolled marijuana joint as a sample. On the same day, police met with the CI and retrieved the marijuana joint, which was tested positive for marijuana.

The next day, the CI met with police and was briefed about making a controlled buy, for which the CI was given $10.00. According to court filings, police then went with the CI to Pago Plaza where the accused works, and in less than five minutes the CI came back with two hand-rolled marijuana joints, which both tested positive for marijuana.

Court filings say four days later, police obtained a search warrant, and the CI was able to make a controlled buy of four marijuana joints from the defendant. Police then executed the search warrant on the defendant and found five hand-rolled marijuana joints inside the pocket of his shirt, in addition to ten marijuana joints inside the defendant’s pouch. It’s alleged police confiscated a total of 19 marijuana joints.

The court affidavit says the defendant told police he’s been employed at Pago Plaza for four years and he’s been selling marijuana joints at his workplace. The defendant sells the joints at five dollars each, and he does it for a friend, who gives him at least $25 for selling the marijuana. The defendant told police his friend last dropped off about 30 marijuana joints on Sunday, January 22, 2012 for him to sell.

Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement represents the defendant who’s being held on bail of $40,000.  He’s scheduled to appear for his preliminary examination this week Wednesday.