Cops on lookout for TCF inmate, No drugs found during shakedown
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — While no drugs were discovered during a shakedown of the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last Thursday morning, detectives from the DPS Criminal Investigating Division (CID) are still searching for a male inmate who escaped from confinement almost a week ago.
No drugs were found but Samoa News was near the area when armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit conducted a raid of the TCF women’s facility.
All female inmates were seen sitting outside of their facility, while detectives carried out a search — room by room. The search lasted almost two hours.
At one point, a large box was seen being carried from the women’s facility by police and taken to a police unit. The contents of the box are unknown.
When asked for a comment, a senior police officer told Samoa News that Thursday’s shakedown was part of their normal routine, to ensure the facility is safe. Moreover, they want to make sure there are no more illegal activities at TCF, like the shakedown in the beginning of this year, where drugs, cash, and cell phones were discovered inside the facility.
For the last three weeks, families of women inmates and detainees have not been able to visit or even drop off personal hygiene items and food, as usual.
Family visitations are on Saturday and drop-offs are on Wednesday.
Relatives of inmates who spoke to Samoa News said they were told that there was a lockdown, as an investigation by the Vice and Narcotics Unit was underway.
One family member said that it’s the relatives of inmates who provide food, and cleaning supplies for the women’s facility, which due to the current lockdown, are not being provided.
A senior DPS officer confirmed to Samoa News last week that a male inmate, who is serving a lengthy sentence for shooting at a police unit escaped from TCF last week.
This was also confirmed by several TCF guards who wished not to be named in fear that they might lose their jobs.
One police officer said DPS is keeping a low profile as they deal with the escape.
Samoa News understands that TCF guards confirmed during their normal check last Wednesday, that the inmate in question was not inside his cell.
Families near the inmate’s home in Petesa told Samoa News that they are very upset with the Police Commissioner for not releasing any public announcements regarding the escape of this inmate, considering the fact that he was convicted of a serious crime.
Officers of the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit were seen at the Pago Pago International Airport last Thursday; and members of the public were curious as to why so many cops were present at the airport.
Samoa News calls to DPS Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson for more information regarding these issues have not been answered.
The inmate alleged to have escaped from TCF last week was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, after a jury found him guilty of seven charges, relating to the shooting of a police vehicle — driven by an officer — two years ago.