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Folasa Galea’i PX hearing scheduled

reporters@samoanews.com

A preliminary examination hearing for a young man who claimed a package that came through the mail containing a large quantity of methamphetamine has been scheduled for Thursday. Folasa Galea’i, who is 19-years-old, is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

This count carries a jail term of not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than $20,000 or both.  He is also charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana with intent to distribute which is punishable by not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than $20,000 or both.

District Court Judge John Ward told the defendant that the preliminary examination hearing is not a trial, it’s just a hearing to determine whether the government has sufficient evidence to have these charges bound over to the High Court for trial or other disposition.

On the issue of bail, Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement noted that the defendant is looking at retaining Sharron Rancourt as counsel. Clement, however, still asked the court to reduce bail, as the defendant has no prior record and is not a flight risk.

Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag responded that the $100,000 bail should remain in place due to the very large quantity of drugs in question.

Ward told the defendant that bail will remain at $100,000, however once defendant obtains a private attorney, motions can be addressed on the issue of bail.

According to the government’s case, the defendant claimed a package that contained a variety of snacks and some canned foods. When Customs Agents removed the items within the box, they came across cans of whole tomatoes, which they noticed were unusually lightweight.

Court documents say that’s when the K9 unit was called for assistance.

The four tomato cans, according to court documents, were labeled with the numbers 2, 4, 5 and 8, and were lighter than the two remaining cans, which were labeled “clear”.

Customs agents opened the tomato cans that were labeled with numbers and each can contained sealed plastic Baggies containing a green leafy substance, which appeared to be marijuana. The customs agents also opened the cans that were labeled “clear” and each can contained sealed plastic Baggies with a white crystalline substance inside that appeared to be methamphetamine.

After telling Customs Officers earlier that the box belonged to his uncle, Court documents say the defendant was then asked who is his uncle that owns the package, and the defendant said “Milton”.

Police then arrived at the scene and arrested the defendant. At the police station, the defendant again told police that the box belongs to his uncle, but he refused to reveal his uncle’s name.

The substances found in the package tested positive as methamphetamine and marijuana. Court documents say that police obtained written statements from customs agents who were present when Galena’s was at the US post office claiming the package.



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