And still more 'meth' cases: Convicted drug offender says he's not a bad person
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 46-year-old man from Samoa who was convicted of unlawful possession of 2 glass pipes containing methamphetamine has told the court that he’s not a bad person.
Tinilau Malaesaili was ordered to serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) as a condition of his 5-year probation sentence.
Malaesaili was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), first-degree sexual abuse, and stealing. However, under a plea agreement with the government, Malaesaili pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
During sentencing, Malaesaili asked for forgiveness and apologized to the court and the government. He said he’s not a bad person, as he has been living in the territory all his life, as a law-abiding citizen.
According to him, things changed when his spouse left him in 2014. That’s when he realized there was nobody to share his thoughts with or care for him. He said he turned to drugs and that’s how he ended up in prison.
“I want to change my life. I’m not perfect, but I will do my best,” Malaesaili told the court, adding that it was not his intention to break the law; however, he was tempted by his friends and those around him and now, in the end, he is the one facing the consequences of his actions.
He begged the court for another chance so he can return home and care for his elderly aunt whom he considers his mother.
After spending 11 months behind bars, Malaesaili said he has learned his lesson and wants to move on with his life.
Defense attorney Rob McNeill said his client admitted to Probation and to police that he used drugs. He added that meth is a powerful drug that makes people give up everything in order to get it.
He asked the court to allow his client — an over-stayer, whose ID expired this year in January — to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders.
Prosecutor Laura Garvey did not oppose the request for a probated sentence and said while the government is sticking to terms of the plea agreement she feels the court needs to consider the defense’s request to allow Malaesaili to depart American Samoa.
Malaesaili was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment; however, the sentence is suspended and he is placed on probation for 5 years on several conditions, which include him serving 20 months at the TCF without any release.
Upon release from jail, Malaesaili is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside for the entire duration of his probation term.