Another attempt to prosecute drug charges against Sio Godinet Jr.
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government case against the third co-defendant where police raided two homes in Pago Pago in May of this year reveals new information and adds new felony charges, after the government re-filed the case against him last week.
Sio Godinet Jr., one of the three individuals arrested when police executed a search warrant signed by the court on May 15, appeared before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia last Friday for his preliminary examination (PX).
However, his attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson requested a continuance, saying the defense investigators need more time so that they can interview some witnesses regarding the alleged incident.
Sunia granted the defense’s motion and rescheduled Godinet Jr.’s PX to Thursday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m., to give more time to the defense to collect all the necessary information they need.
The other two co-defendants are Meriko Lomu and Lyon Grey.
Godinet Jr., who is still in custody unable to post a cash bond of $50,000 is being charged with 8 counts, which include 4 new charges, along with the 4 old charges that were filed against him in the case dismissed by the court two weeks ago. (See story for more details in Samoa News issue of June 29, 2018.)
The new charges against Godinet Jr. include unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine with intent to distribute; unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana with intent to distribute, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, all class D felonies.
The government is accusing Godinet Jr. of aiding, agreeing or attempting to aid Meriko Lomu and/ or Lyon Grey in unlawful possession of illegal drugs, and unlawfully possession with the intent to distribute.
These charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on May 15 of this year, where armed detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit searched Godinet Jr.’s home in Pago and allegedly found illegal drugs along with drug paraphernalia.
The 4 old charges are the same as the new charges, but stem from a separate incident that happened where a controlled buy using a confidential informant (CI) was executed in April 2018. In this incident, the alleged exchange of cash and drugs was conducted inside Godinet Jr.’s vehicle, in which the defendant was also present.
It was after this incident that the police then asked the court for the search warrant that was executed on May 15 on a house belonging to Godinet Jr.
The government’s case is mainly based on the statement provided by a confidential informant (CI). The name of the CI is not mentioned in the court affidavit, which was obtained by Samoa News.
The Court affidavit points to the CI beginning to inform on Godinet Jr. — also known as Jun Godinet in Pago Pago — in Feb. of this year. (See story for more details in Samoa News issue of June 29, 2018.)
In March the CI told police that he/she overheard a conversation between Godinet Jr. and an unknown male about how his alleged drug operation is on the rise, and that he believes himself to be a “Big Timer” in the “Drug Game”.
Then in April, the CI told police about several individuals entering a two-story structure on Godinet Jr.’s property in Pago Pago, and later exiting with plastic baggies containing a white crystalline substance appearing to be methamphetamine. The CI further told police that “he” (pronoun used in affidavit document) had also witnessed individuals handing Godinet Jr. cash in exchange for small baggies containing a green leafy substance appearing to be marijuana.
The CI also informed police that he/she observed Godinet Jr. with Lomu selling drugs from an unknown vehicle. The CI told police that Lomu and Godinet Jr. had officially declared working together in the drug trade in Pago Pago, with both admitting to selling marijuana and methamphetamine.
Lomu’s customers and “runners” from her area in Fagatogo were now being utilized out of Godinet Jr.’s residence.
Due to this arrangement the CI said that Godinet Jr. had since been forgiven by dealers at the Aute and they are allowing him to “reload” his drug supply through Lomu and Grey. According to the CI the “reload” is done by either Lomu and Godinet Jr. in Godinet Jr.’s vehicle (License plate # 0107) or by Grey in his silver Toyata Tundra or on his yellow motorbike.
Lomu and Godinet Jr. are known to randomly change vehicles amongst their associates (known drugs users) to deal in drugs and make deliveries of drugs, the affidavit notes; and there have reportedly been at least 4 different vehicles that the CI has witnessed Lomu and Godinet Jr. using to conduct drug transactions over the span of two months.
On May 15, 2018 around 6 p.m., police executed a search warrant on Godinet Jr.’s property.
A part of the search included a two-story structure owned by the defendant that the CI told police was being utilized as a “trap house” (a structure allegedly used for the storage, packaging, selling, buying and using of drugs).
When police entered the two-story structure, they observed a male sitting in the dark who appeared to be hiding from police. The male individual was identified as M.F. and immediately taken into custody.
Police also searched a room on the first floor of the two-story structure and observed two individuals sitting at a small table. They were later identified as Lomu and Grey. They appeared to be in the middle of packing drugs for sale. When police entered the room, Lomu and Grey moved very quickly attempting to conceal items as police entered the room.
Drugs and drug paraphernalia were found by police inside the small room during the search.
Godinet Jr. was not inside the room. He was found inside his other house (it’s assumed the “other” house was on the same property as the 2-story structure).
All four individuals — Godinet Jr., Lomu, Grey and M.F — were taken into custody.
The search was then moved to Grey’s home on the other side of Pago Pago including his vehicle, but no drugs were found.
Godinet Jr., Lomu and Grey all refused to sign any paperwork or make any form of statement regarding any part of their situation in this case.
Samoa News should point out that M.F. was never charged by the government in this case, only Godinet Jr., Lomu and Grey were charged.