Police discover huge firearms cache during Kokoland drug bust
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Drugs weighing approximately 3 grams, drug paraphernalia, firearms including an assault rifle and over two thousand ammunition were allegedly discovered by armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit when they executed a search warrant at the home of Samuel Gaisoa in Kokoland last week.
After his initial appearance before District Court Judge Pro Temp, Gwen Tauiliili-Langikilde last Friday, Gaisoa, 37, who is out on a $50,000 surety bond appeared in court again yesterday morning for a preliminary examination.
He is represented by private attorney Marcellus T. Uiagalelei while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn.
Gaisoa, who was off-island with his wife when police executed the search warrant at his Kokoland home and his office (located on the 2nd floor of the TMO Hardware building in Tafuna), wished to exercise his rights to a PX hearing.
Tauiliili-Langkilde has set his PX for Dec. 14th at 10:30 a.m.
The government claims that around 2:30 p.m on Wednesday, Nov .14, 2018 a search warrant was executed at an office located on the 2nd floor of the primary TMO (Tautua Mo Oe) Hardware building and a residential structure in Kokoland occupied by a male identified as Samuel “Sam” Gaisoa, the defendant in this case.
The warrant was first executed at the TMO Hardware building, and the search was conducted by several armed detectives, in the presence of TMO business owner Frank Gaisoa Sr. (whose name is mentioned in the affidavit), who confirmed to police that S. Gaisoa had recently left the territory to visit a family member.
The TMO owner confirmed to police that only a few people have a key to the office in question: himself, Sam Gaisoa, and his wife.
The search of the office uncovered a baggie containing a white crystalline substance appearing to be meth weighing approximately 3 grams, (4) nuggets of a green leafy substance appearing and smelling like marijuana in a glass container weighing approximately 1 gram, multiple pieces of paraphernalia, including 2 glass pipes (commonly used to smoke meth) containing meth and a broken glass pipe.
After the search of the office, detectives as well as members of the Gaisoa family and later Gaisoa Sr himself joined police in searching the single story residential structure occupied by Sam Gaisoa (defendant), his wife, and three young children.
According to the government, S. Gaisoa and his family were off-island at the time of the search, during which cops discovered inside the master bedroom above the closet a personal cache of firearms.
The weapons found were as follows: one 12 gauge shot gun; one MP5 submachine gun (converted to .22 cal); two Sig Sauer. 22 semi-automatic pistols (one loaded with x10 .22 rounds in the magazine); two M4 (AR15) rifles with numerous attachments (scopes, flash lights, and lasers fires 5.56 caliber rounds); one CX4 9mm (A pistol caliber semi-automatic carbine rifle) with built in suppressor; one dismantled .45 cal semi-automatic pistol; one dismantled UZI submachine gun with silencer/suppressor; BB gun pistol with Co2 cartridge (loaded); and numerous spare magazines; accessories (i.e hoisters, lights, lasers, magazine pouches, load bearing vest) and weapons cleaning gear.
Police also discovered ammunition during the search, such as thousands of 5.56 rounds (bullets); over three hundred .45 rounds, and over one thousand 9mm rounds.
Everything found during the search of both S. Gaisoa's office and home was seized by police and taken to the Central Police Station in Fagatogo for processing.
The white crystalline substance tested positive for meth and the green leafy substance yielded positive results for marijuana.
INITIAL APPEARANCE HEARING
The government argued during Gaisoa’s initial appearance last Friday that the defendant is a danger to the community. Prosecutor Dunn strongly opposed the defense’s motion to reduce bail, asking the court to maintain bond at $50,000, which was accepted by the court.
Defense attorney Uiagalelei downplayed the government’s statement that his client is a danger to society. He said Gaisoa no longer has access to the weapons allegedly seized from his home.
According to Uiagalelei, his client turned himself in to police when he arrived on island last Thursday night, prior to his appearance in court on Friday.