Probationer back in jail on drug charges following alleged assault in Nuuuli
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 45-year-old probationer was arrested last week on the allegation that he violated local drug laws.
Tolai Afele — convicted last year of assaulting a boy while he was under the influence — made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea yesterday morning. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning for a preliminary examination election.
Afele is charged with one count of second degree assault, a class D felony, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), an unclassified felony, punishable by imprisonment between 5-10 years, a fine between $5,000-$20,000 or both.
Bond is set at $10,000.
If he is able to post bond, Afele is ordered to remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and he is not to make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, including the victim and his family.
The government claims that it was around 8:21p.m last Thursday, July 18, 2019 that the Tafuna Substation received a call from a man reporting that his male friend was in need of medical assistance, as he sustained a head injury after being struck by another man with a metal pipe.
It was revealed to police by people who were at the scene that a man by the name of “STOLA” assaulted the victim in front of a store in Nu’uuli.
STOLA was later identified as Tolai Afele, the defendant in this case.
One eyewitness told police that he saw Afele throw the first punch at the victim’s face, causing the man to fall down. The victim got up and threw a punch at Afele’s face but missed. It was then that Afele allegedly struck the victim’s head with a metal pipe.
Afele then jumped into his vehicle and left the scene.
A few hours later, police apprehended Afele at a friend’s house where he was playing pool.
When confronted by law enforcement, according to the government, Afele appeared nervous and he was allegedly reaching into his pocket, in an effort to remove something from inside.
When asked about what was inside his pocket, Afele said it was something that doesn’t belong to him.
A body search was conducted and police discovered a small stamp-sized baggie containing a crystalline substance, which was later tested and came up positive for meth.
When questioned about the small baggie, Afele said it belonged to his friend who owns the pool table.
Afele was sentenced in District Court last July to 120 days detention as a condition of his 24-month probation, after he pled guilty to two counts of third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor.
The charges stem from an incident whereby Afele assaulted two people — including a 12-year-old boy - while he was intoxicated.