Errors in Thomas Siuamau story
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Samoa News is correcting a story that it published yesterday on the front page, regarding the case of Thomas Siaumau.
After speaking to law enforcement officials and sources close to the case, the information is corrected as follows:
Thomas Siaumau was not present when police executed a warrant in Petesa last Friday. Only Thomas’s brother Elliott Siaumau, and another man, Eddiboy Vaavale were arrested that day and both made their initial appearances in District Court this past Monday, on drug charges.
Bail for Elliott is set at $50,000 and $10,000 for Vaavale. The two are scheduled for a preliminary examination (PX) this morning.
When police entered the Siaumau family compound in Petesa on the afternoon of July 12th, four men were seen standing in the corner: co-defendants Elliott and Vaavale, and two other men, Samatua Logoai and Toenuti Oloaga.
Cops allegedly confiscated drug paraphernalia, numerous baggies containing a white substance that later tested positive for crystal meth, and cash.
Yesterday’s story incorrectly stated that escaped inmate Thomas Siaumau — who was on the run for almost two weeks — was present, tried to run, but was eventually captured last Friday when police showed up in Petesa.
This, in fact, is not true.
Thomas was not there, he did not try to escape, and he was not ‘captured’
According to an inside source, it was during heavy police presence last Friday that Thomas’s family was urged to advise Thomas to turn himself in.
Samoa News understands that the message got across, as they were told that Thomas could be picked up on Sunday.
Arrangements were made and this past Sunday, as per the agreement, Thomas was there when police showed up. Thomas has since been taken back into custody and is under tight security.
Samoa News apologizes to our readers for the reporting error.
Because the original story has been removed from the Samoa News Facebook page and website, the following is what the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint contains:
On July 12, 2019 around 1p.m., armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit, accompanied by various members of the police force, entered the Siaumau family compound in Petesa to execute a warrant.
Upon arrival, cops observed 4 men standing in a corner behind the Siaumau mechanic shop: co-defendants Elliott and Va’avale, Samatua Logoai, and Toenuti Oloaga.
The group appeared to have been in the midst of a meeting that was interrupted by police presence. Cops stormed the area and instructed all of the men to remain still and place their hands above their heads. According to the government, all four men seemed nervous, especially Elliott and Va’avale.
While frisking Va’avale, cops noticed him attempting to push a black bag underneath a small table near the center of the group. Police found inside the bag, 48 medium sized clear ziplock baggies; 2 separate bags containing 25 small stamp sized baggies; and 2 medium sized clear baggies containing a clear crystalline substance that appeared to be meth.
Police also found $360 in cash on Elliott when they searched him.
All 4 men were taken in for questioning. Vaavale was asked about the black bag and according to him, the bag was in Elliot’s hands when police entered the compound. However, before the cops turned the corner, Elliot tossed the bag to him so he can hide it. But the bag hit him in the chest and fell to the ground. Va’avale said he tried to push the bag under the table with his foot.
During his interview with police, Elliott allegedly admitted to having possession of the bag. He said the bag was initially for payment for services on multiple vehicles, and he didn’t want the payment but he took it anyway.
According to Elliott, the bag was untouched for about a week. He claims that he worked out a different kind of payment - he wanted to be paid in form of a vehicle for him and his wife to utilize, and he was in the process of taking the bag from his house and returning it to the person who gave it to him when police arrived. That’s when he ran to the back where the group was, and tossed the bag to Va’avale to hide.
The crystalline substance found in the bag was tested and yielded positive results for meth.