Woman charged with possession of meth will serve 180 days in jail
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman convicted of violating local drug laws is ordered to serve 180 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF). Christina S. Malauulu, 48, who has been in custody since her arrest last month, unable to post a $5,000 surety bond, appeared in court last week for sentencing.
She was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court last week, Malauulu pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Malauulu admits that on June 20, 2019 she had on her, a straw and glass pipe containing meth.
When given the chance to speak, Malauulu apologized and begged for a second chance so she can return home to rebuild her life. She said she made a terrible mistake, which ruined her life and her family.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse told Malauulu that she looked familiar. “When was the last time we met?” Kruse asked. Malauulu responded that the last time she appeared in court was when she argued a motion to travel off-island for her daughter’s funeral.
Defense attorney, Public Defender Michael White asked the court to adopt the recommendation in the Pre Sentence Report (PSR) and sentence his client to probation. Prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn echoed White’s submission.
The case against Malauulu came to light after police got a call from a business owner, saying one of his rental vehicles was being used by a woman suspected of conducting illegal activities.
Cops were given the identity of the woman and it was learned that she was already under police surveillance, on suspicion that she was connected to a male inmate who allegedly escaped from confinement and shot a man in Leone two years ago.
The rental vehicle was spotted and eventually pulled over on the main road. During a search of the car, police found a white substance inside a clear plastic baggie. The driver, Malauulu, was then arrested.
Kruse sentenced Malauulu to 5 years imprisonment. Execution of sentence is suspended and she is placed on probation for 5 years subject to several conditions.
She is to serve 20 months at the TCF. However, execution of detention is suspended, and Malauulu is to serve the first 180 days. The remainder of her jail term is stayed until further order of the court.
Upon release from the TCF, Malauulu is to visit Probation once a month. She is also to remain drug and alcohol free. “Ma’am, you messed up your life because of your meth addiction,” Kruse told Malauulu, who responded, “I’m sorry, Your Honor.”
Kruse replied, “Don’t apologize to us because if you don’t comply with these conditions, you will go to prison for 5 years.”
Malauulu was sentenced to 6 months probation by the District Court in 2017, after she pled guilty to public peace disturbance. This case had to do with Malauulu pointing a “pistol” towards three men who were collecting trash along the road.
Malauulu drove by the area, turned around and came back, stopped, and pointed the pistol towards men, saying she was looking for the person who was spreading rumors about her daughter. Malauulu was taken into custody and a .45 caliber pistol was found when police searched her vehicle.