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Court Report



The government has charged Sopi Senio Jr with property damage and attempted stealing on allegations that he vandalized an ATM machine and attempted to steal funds from it in October 2012. The defendant, who’s being held on bail of $10,000 made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday.


The property damage count and stealing charges are both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from commission of said crime up to a maximum of $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment.


According to the government’s case, on October 24, 2012 police were contacted by the ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank for assistance regarding their ANZ ATM machine at the FJ&P Kruse store in Leone. An ANZ employee informed police there was black spray paint on the front cover of the machine, which was slightly loose, and the cash dispenser was bent in the middle and scratched.


Police proceeded to the ATM machine where officers observed that the ANZ ATM machine booth and surrounding wall were spray painted with black paint. Court filings say, police officers observed via video surveillance  a male individual spray painting the ATM machine, and ANZ employees identified the person as the defendant.


The government claims the defendant's attempt to steal money was unsuccessful, and according to an ANZ employee, the money in the ATM was all accounted for. An estimated amount of $4,428 is needed to repair the ATM machine, which includes the cost of a new door, hinge, magnetic catch and installation. The government claims that the defendant appeared drunk and angry in the video which was observed by the police.




A plea deal offer was presented to the li’ili couple Teroa Faletoi and Samuel Tupuola facing charges of unlawful possession of a controlled substance of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, while 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 several months ago.


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


Tupuola’s bail remains at $100,000 and bail for Faletoi remains at $75,000 and they are both housed at the Tafuna Correctional Facility.


The couple appeared in court yesterday for their pre-trial conference in which both parties announced that they have reached a plea deal, however they have yet to finalize the proper documents in this matter.


Samoa News understands the woman will enter a guilty plea to misdemeanor charges while Tupuola will enter a plea to the felony charges. Court filings say, upon executing a search warrant on Tupuola’s properties, police approached Sam at his workplace, the LBJ hospital, where he works as security. Police informed the defendant at that 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.


He was subsequently caught; and found to have drugs on him, which tested positive as methamphetamine.


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 drugs, a hand gun which is a special 38 with special 38 ammunition, $1,000 cash, assorted drug paraphenalia.


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


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