Three arrested and charged after police raid two homes in Pago
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Armed detectives of the Department of Public Safety- Vice & Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant on two homes in Pago Pago last week, confiscating drugs, drug paraphernalia and cash.
Three individuals — two men and a female — were arrested as a result.
They are: Sio Junior Godinet, Lyen Grey and Meriko Lomu.
The trio made their initial appearances before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia yesterday morning, and their cases are set for a preliminary examination (PX) today at 9.am.
The defendants are being charged separately for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.
Bail amount for Grey is set at $50,000 while Godinet and Lomu are each being held on $30,000 bail. As of press time, none of them were able to post bond and remain in custody at TCF.
If they are able to post bond, Judge Sunia has given them conditions of release, which include remaining alcohol and drug free, and they are ordered to surrender themselves for random drug and alcohol testing.
The raid was part of a sting operation — ongoing for quite some time — spearheaded by the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit.
The raid and arrests that followed were the final pieces of the puzzle.
During yesterday's court proceedings, the District Court was packed with family members and local residents.
One elderly man told Samoa News outside of the courthouse that he praises the great effort by police in finding those who are allegedly distributing drugs in the community, and charging them, because it will put a stop to this increasing problem.
He added that he is a victim of the drug problem because police arrested and charged his son for allegedly selling drugs to other people. He said he didn’t know anything about his son being involved in drugs until police officers came to his home a few months ago and informed him that they had arrested his son for unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
According to court records, Godinet, one of the three defendants in this new case, was charged last year for unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) but the case was dismissed by District Court Judge Sunia, after the court was unable to find probable cause and sufficient evidence to bind the case over to High Court.
Police stopped Godinet’s vehicle back in September 2017, for failure to comply with traffic signs. During the stop, police allegedly found a glass pipe containing meth inside his car.
During Godinet’s PX last September, Judge Sunia, after reviewing all the facts, said the court believes the reason for the traffic stop was to look for drugs — and because of that motive — police violated the rights of a citizen protected under the Constitution.
“This case was an organized search. This was a search,” said Sunia, with a loud voice when he delivered his decision. He said that without the search, police would never have stopped Godinet’s vehicle, and that's the reason the case was dismissed.