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Two Samoan men involved in recent Honolulu drug sting

Two Samoan men were among four people arrested this week in Honolulu during a drug sting operation that netted more than $200,000 worth of methamphetamine and seized some $70,000 in cash, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the federal court in Honolulu.

Prosecutors said Faataoto Vaieli Mauga, Tapusilia Suliasi Vaifale, Mayday Pakele and Colonel Pakele are charged with drug possession and intent to distribute. They are scheduled to appear next week for their detention hearing. Prosecutors have filed a motion with the court asking that the defendants be held without bail.

Honolulu-based FBI spokesman Tom Simon said the arrests of the four came after the joint work — which started Tuesday morning and went well into the night — between the FBI and the Honolulu Police Department (HPD).

“The evening culminated in a massive seizure of approximately seven pounds of meth,” said Simon in an e-mail to news organizations including Samoa News after the arrests were made. “Thanks to a successful FBI-HPD joint operation, seven pounds of meth are off the streets and four defendants are in federal custody.”

"This operation was the result of months of cooperative investigation between the FBI and Honolulu police,” he said from Honolulu. "This type of federal-local partnership could be the model for major Hawaii drug investigations going forward into the future."

The FBI affidavit filed in court in support of the criminal complaint states that an arranged purchased of the drugs was made Feb. 17 between undercover agents and Mayday Pakele and Vaifale. The pair sold two ounces of methamphetamine to the undercover agents, who paid them $4,200.

Another arranged purchase was made Feb. 28 and this time it was for four ounces of methamphetamine. No money was exchanged this time, but instead the pair were arrested in the parking lot of a Honolulu restaurant by FBI agents, according to the affidavit.

Also on Feb. 28, it was previously arranged that Vaifale would take the monetary profit from the sale of meth to Mauga’s Waikiki condominium.

According to the affidavit, Mauga was found waiting at his condominium and was also arrested. A search warrant of the condominium resulted in the seizure of about seven pounds of meth and about $70,000 in cash.

Simon told Samoa News that the estimated street value of the methamphetamine is around $250,000.