Drug Raids: One nets drugs and guns, the other comes up empty
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Armed detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit, along with several other unarmed police officers executed two search warrants in two different homes on the west side of the island last week, where they seized drugs, drugs paraphernalia and prohibited weapons.
Meanwhile, a man in his late 40s is now in custody as a result of the two separate raids, while police are still looking for another male individual who is believed to be the owner of the house that was the first to be raided by police last week Tuesday.
The second raid took place the following day, Wednesday, and netted drugs and unlicensed guns.
All of the seized items are now in the custody of the DPS evidence custodian.
It was around 6 a.m on Tuesday morning of last week, Nov. 13, 2018 when police executed their first search warrant on a home on the west side of the island. Police were also armed with an arrest warrant for the male individual who owns the house, Tautua Letasi, this is pertaining to a separate criminal case of kidnapping and stealing.
The government alleges that this male individual stole a rental vehicle and kidnapped a 21-year-old female who was inside the rental vehicle. (See story in Nov. 9 issue, “Search for alleged kidnap victim leads to arrest of two men for ice”)
The individual was not at his home when police executed the search warrant and police are still looking for him.
After collecting information from a confidential informant (CI) about drugs being stored and sold from the house of this male individual, police then sought a search warrant to search the house.
Information received by police allegedly states that this male individual is involved in drug dealing. According to the CI, around November of 2017, this male individual had a supply of drugs which he allegedly was selling from his home with the help of a another man who is well known by police for selling drugs.
Police also received information that alleges around Mar. 2018, this male individual was the primary supplier of methamphetamine and marijuana to his village, and several other villages on island.
Also in June of this year, this same male individual was alleged to receive a reload of his drug supply that is kept and packaged in the lower basement of his residence, and he also works closely with other drug dealers which all share product in his home.
Two reliable sources told Samoa News last week that no drugs were found when police raided the home of this male individual on Tuesday of last week.
Samoa News understand that this male individual is scheduled to appear in High Court on Dec. 17, 2018 for his second jury trial, after Chief Justice Michael Kruse declared a mistrial in his last drug case, after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Samoa News should point out that as a condition of his release on a $60,000 surety bond, Kruse ordered this male individual to sign in every Monday with the probation office, and he must surrender himself once a month for a random testing for alcohol or illegal drugs.
A man is now being charged by the government as the result of the second raid by police last week.
Samuel Gaisoa made his initial appearance in District Court last Friday before Judge Pro Tem, Gwen Tauiliili-Langkilde. He was represented by private attorney Marcellus T. Uiagalelei, while prosecuting the government’s case was Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn.
The government is charging Gaisoa with a total of 11 criminal charges including the unlawful possession of illegal drugs and also unlawful possession of unlicensed and prohibited firearms.
Tauiliili-Langkilde established Gaisoa’s bond at $50,000.
If he posts his bond, the court ordered that he shall remain law-abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, stay in close contact with his attorney, and he must surrender his travel documents to the government. Moreover, he was also ordered not to have any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses in this matter.
Gaisoa’s attorney, Uiagalelei argued to the court for a bail reduction but it was denied.
According to Uiagalelei, his client arrived in the territory on Thursday night from Honolulu and surrendered himself to the local police, who later booked him and confined him at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to await his initial appearance.
Uiagalelei stated clearly to the court that despite the government’s accusation that his client is a flight risk, he pointed out to the court that based on his client’s move to surrender himself to the police, his action confirmed that he’s not a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
According to Uiagalelei, Gaisoa is a family man who is married with young children. He also stated that all the evidence that was seized by police is now in government custody. His client has no access to all these items including firearms.
Uiagalelei then asked the court to reduce his client’s bond to the amount of $30,000.
Prosecutor Dunn strong opposed the defense’s motion, despite echoing Uiagalelei’s submission on the fact that the defendant surrendered himself to the police immediately after he arrived in the territory on Thursday night. She said the facts of the matter are clear — illegal drugs and weapons were allegedly found at his home.
Dunn stated to the court that based on all the facts of this case, the government feels that this defendant poses a real threat and danger to the community. Moreover, he’s also a flight risk.
In delivering her decision, Tauiliili-Langkilde also echoed the defense attorney’s statement that the defendant turned himself in to police when he arrived in the territory. However, given the seriousness of the charges and also the items that were allegedly seized by police during the raid, Tauiliili-Langkilde stated that the court feels that $50,000 is a reasonable amount for this type of matter.
The bond according to Tauiliili-Langkilde can be cash or surety.
Gaisoa is remanded into custody until further orders of the court. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow morning, Nov. 20 for his preliminary examination.