FA’AILI TAUFUSI MATA’U
A 41-year old drug defendant — who was asleep at a bus stop in Tafuna before he was detained by police for possession of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana — has entered into a plea agreement with the government and sentencing is set for next month.
Fa’aili Taufusi Mata’u, a.k.a ‘Whistle" is charged with one count each of unlawful possession of a controlled substance — methamphetamine and marijuana — both felonies. Mata’u appeared in High Court on Monday for his change of plea hearing.
Under the plea agreement, the government amended the two original charges down to a Class D - still felonies - with each count punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both.
For his guilty plea, the defendant admitted that on or around Oct. 29, 2017, he was in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. According to information announced in court, the guilty pleas for both counts relate to the quantity of meth and marijuana in the defendant’s possession at the time of his arrest.
Responding to questions from Chief Justice Michael Kruse, the defendant said he doesn’t know or recall the amount — or quantity — of meth and marijuana that was in his possession when he was arrested by police. The defendant acknowledged that he was sleeping at a bus stop when he was detained.
According to court documents, police found various items in a container which was in the defendant’s possession. The items included 4 plastic baggies with white powder-like residue; 1 1/4 clear plastic baggie white powder-like residue; 1 small baggie containing crystalline substance; 1 medium clear plastic baggie with powder-like residue; 1 medium plastic baggie containing crystalline substance; 1 MC orange rolling paper, and 1 hand-rolled cigarette.
A body search of Mata'u netted a clear blue tip pipe with a bulb inside his right pocket. The glass pipe contained what appeared to be white powder-like residue. Inside the defendant's left pants pocket, cops allegedly found a small clear container with what appeared to be a green leafy substance.
The items tested positive for both methamphetamine and marijuana.
Mata’u, who remains in custody unable to post bail, will be sentenced on Feb. 26th.
TUNA TALIPOPE LEPOU SUITULAGA
Also scheduled for sentencing Feb. 26th is Tuna Talipope Lepou Suitulaga, who was initially charged with first degree burglary but under a plea agreement, the defendant pled guilt on Monday to an amended count of second degree burglary, which is still a felony, for unlawful entry to commit the crime of stealing.
Under the plea agreement, the 22-year old defendant admitted that around Aug. 5, 2017 he removed a screen wire off a window at Siliaga Elementary School and entered into a room where he stole a computer that belonged to someone else.
Asked by Kruse about what he did with the computer, Suitulaga said nothing, adding that it was turned over to police. Suitulaga remains in custody, unable to post bail.
For these two cases — Mata’u and Suitulaga — Kruse was assisted on the bench by Associate Judges Fa’amausili P. Pomele and Muasau T. Tofili.