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Samoan man in Honolulu facing two counts in crystal meth case

A Samoan man, who federal agents say received a package of more than 100 grams of “white crystalline substance” through Federal Express, from a drug source in California, has been charged in the federal court in Honolulu.

Peter Seali’itu Sagapolutele is charged under a two-count indictment handed down Apr. 12 by a federal grand jury in Honolulu. He is accused of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, about 126 grams of methamphetamine.

The indictment alleges that from around January through April 2012, the defendant obtained parcels in the mail containing what he believed to be methamphetamine from another individual.

According to court records, Sagapolutele is being released on a $25,000 unsecured bond despite prosecutor’s request for the defendant to be held without bail, and there is no data available yet on when the case goes to trial.

The defendant was arrested around April 5, before the indictment was handed down, according to federal court records. A federal agent filed an official complaint against the defendant on Apr. 6 after he was taken into custody.

The case first came to light when the Federal Express facility next to the Honolulu airport located a suspicious  parcel from an address in Sacramento, Calif., addressed to the defendant’s home in Honolulu, according a federal complaint filed Apr.  6. The parcel included the name of the sender and the Sacramento address.

(Samoa News is withholding the name of the sender until further information is obtained pertaining to this individual, or until the sender is charged.).

Inside the large envelope about 110 grams of the illegal substance was found, and a federal agent stated that “this large quantity of methamphetamine is not consistent with personal use, but rather is more consistent with distribution,” according to the complaint.

Federal agents were able to secure on Apr. 5 from the federal court a Warrant for the Installation and Monitoring of a beeper device, which was placed inside the parcel delivered to the defendant’s home. The meth inside the envelope was replaced with pseudo-methamphetamine (or rock salt) as part of the sting operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, which includes the Honolulu Police Department.

The male person who accepted the envelope at the residence was later identified as Peter S. Sagapolutele, who opened the envelope setting off the beeper inside, prompting law enforcement officers to approach the front door of the home and knock loudly while announcing their presence.

While the defendant opened the door, he was still holding the outer envelope of the parcel in one hand while holding a cellular phone in the other. Sagapolutele was advised of his rights, which he waived and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement. He allegedly admitted to receiving the parcel and was then transported to the Task Force office for processing and further interview.

Sagapolutele allegedly told federal agents that this was the fourth parcel containing drugs he had ever received, starting around January this year. He also allegedly admitted that he knew that each parcel contained crystal methamphetamine that he got from a source in Sacramento.

“Sagapolutele stated that his source also directed him to purchasers of crystal methamphetamine,” the complaint alleges, and noted that once the defendant received the parcel, he would then call his source to confirm receipt of the parcel.

He would also discuss with the source the price per ounce of methamphetamine for each particular parcel and would then take each parcel to the purchaser as directed by the source, the government alleges.

Sagapolutele would remain there while the buyers weighed the methamphetamine and pay him according to the agreed upon price per ounce, the complaint states and noted that the defendant told agents that he usually “got paid approximately one thousand dollars per ounce of crystal methamphetamine” and he keeps $500 and sends the balance to the source.

Neither the complaint nor the indictment has information on the street value of the drugs in the Federal Express parcel.