Woman pleads in meth case … and that’s the least of her problems
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A woman accused of violating local drug laws has entered into a plea agreement with the government. 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 a Change of Plea hearing.
She was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by up to 20 years, 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, 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.
According to the government, it was the owner of a rental car company that tipped off police, voicing his suspicions that a woman using one of his rental cars is engaged in illegal activities.
Cops were given the name of the driver, who was allegedly under police surveillance for some time, on assumptions that she is connected to a male inmate accused of escaping from confinement and shooting a man in Leone two years ago.
When Malauulu was pulled over by police, clear plastic baggies containing a white substance were allegedly discovered in the vehicle.
During court proceedings last week, the defense made two verbal motions: a motion to release Malauulu on her own recognizance pending sentencing, and a motion to allow Malauulu to travel off island for her daughter’s funeral, set for Aug. 16, 2019.
In addition to the news of her daughter’s death, Malauulu told the court that she also received divorce papers from her husband’s attorney.
She told the court that she has a lot on her mind right now and she doesn’t know what to do. She said she wants to prioritize her case; however, when she received word of her daughter’s passing, she didn’t know what to do.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse told defense attorney Rob McNeill that the court has no problem with the motion, but it does have a problem with the defendant’s return to the territory for her case if the motion is granted.
It took almost an hour for the court to gather all the information to support the defense motion; but at the end of the hearing, McNeill withdrew the motion for Malauulu to travel off island.
The court also denied the motion to release her on her own recognizance to await sentencing, which is set for Oct. 11, 2019.
Malauulu, a.k.a Chrissy was sentenced to 6 months probation in District Court in 2017, after she pled guilty to public peace disturbance, a class B misdemeanor.
Malauulu had pointed a “pistol” towards three men, who told police that while they were collecting trash along the roadside, Malauulu stopped her car, rolled down the window, and pointed a gun at them. Malauulu was upset because one of the men had allegedly been spreading rumors about her daughter.
Police recovered a .45 caliber pistol in Malauulu’s vehicle that day.