Titifalaula Siaumau enters plea in marijuana case

ausage@samoanews.com

A Customs employee who is accused of importing marijuana with a street value of $20,000 has struck a plea agreement with the government.

Titifalaula Siaumau was initially charged with one count each of importing a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance — in this case, marijuana.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Siaumau pled guilty to the charge of importing a controlled substance. The remaining charge was dismissed.

Siaumau, 22, admitted to the court that earlier this year in March, he knowingly imported marijuana through the Pago Pago International Airport.

According to court information, a package addressed to the government's witness, Felix Penerosa, arrived unaccompanied on a Hawaiian Airlines flight on Mar. 27th. Penerosa is an employee of CSL Cargo Services.

Inside the parcel, hidden in a speaker, was about 5 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of more than $20,000.

Penerosa testified during Siaumau’s preliminary examination hearing that sometime in February this year, Siaumau approached him for help in bringing in a package containing a speaker from California.

On the night the package arrived, police questioned Penerosa and thereafter he was taken into custody and held for 48 hours — the usual time period for detention when charges are not yet filed.

Penerosa was later released while police continued their investigation.

According to the government, the speaker was in a package sent by Toese Asiata in Sacramento, California. Furthermore, US Department of Homeland Security agent Mack Marlo informed authorities that Siaumau was in Sacramento earlier this year with $12,000 cash.

Sentencing for Siaumau, who is out on bail, is scheduled for Feb. 2, 2018.

 

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