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Court Report: Man whose house was broken into fears for his life

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ausage@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of unlawfully entering a house and stealing food and a laptop is now in custody after he was arrested last month. During his arrest, a glass pipe containing methamphetamine was discovered inside his pocket.

Nikolao Alatasi appeared in District Court last month for his initial appearance.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, an unclassified felony, one count of 1st- degree burglary and one count of stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both, along with property damage, trespass and PPD, all class B misdemeanors.

Bail is set at $15,000 and Alatasi’s preliminary examination is scheduled next week.

THE ALLEGATION

According to the government’s case, two males went to the TPS and one of the men reported that a man called Niko had broken into his home in the Tafuna area and stole some property.

The second man who was the victim’s friend told investigators that on the early morning of Sept. 20, 2022, he received a phone call from his friend (victim) stating that Niko came into his home and he was scared for his life and wanted to return back to his parents in China.

The victim’s friend went to the home to check on his friend and found him hiding inside his room crying.

Investigators questioned the victim regarding what allegedly happened. According to the victim, it was around 5:45a.m while he was inside the kitchen preparing food for breakfast that he heard a noise coming from the back door — like someone was trying to open the back door using a metal object.

The victim opened the front door and walked around to check the house. Subsequently, he saw a man inside his house. The victim tried to open the back door from outside but it was locked from inside.

He then ran back to the front door and quickly entered his house where he saw a man standing in front of the refrigerator taking frozen food. The man then took his laptop that was on the table and quickly ran outside of the house using the back door, while at the same time calling out to the victim saying, “I will kill you if you call the police.”

The victim further stated to investigators that he was scared for his safety. so, he decided to call his friend to come to his house before he went and hid inside his room.

Investigators interviewed several people around the area in an effort to find out the full name of the suspect and several people identified the suspect as Nikolao Alatasi, a.k.a. Niko..

Investigators went to the suspect’s house to question him but he was not there. His sister informed investigators that her brother (suspect) told her that he was going to visit their uncle’s family in Kokoland.

Investigators went to Kokoland and the suspect was not there either.

Three weeks later, the victim contacted investigators and informed them that the man who burglarized his house was seen sitting on his bike in front of the store across from his house.

Investigators arrived and apprehended him and he was transported to the TPS for further investigation. The suspect was patted down for weapons and contraband and during the body search, investigators discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance in the suspect’s rear pocket.

Alatasi was Mirandized and refused to make a statement. He was then transported to the TCF where he was booked and confined.

A police detective tested the white crystalline substance found inside the glass pipe and it yielded positive for meth.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING HIS WIFE & DAUGHTER

A man from Iliili was arrested last month for assaulting his wife and his 12-year-old daughter.

According to the government’s case, a woman contacted the TPS on the early morning of Oct. 28, 2022, saying that when she called her co-worker she heard profanities in the background and her friend was crying when she answered the phone but never said a word.

After receiving the information from the caller on the location, several police officers responded and observed a large crowd of people standing in front of a residence located close to the road side.

Officers were approached by a female, who identified herself as the reporter in this matter. The reporter informed officers that she heard from a neighbor that her co-worker was being assaulted by her husband and they were inside the house.

Officers cleared the area and approached the house from the side door and a woman opened the door and invited cops to come inside.

During a short conversation between cops and the woman who opened the door, they saw blood coming from her nose and bruises on her forehead. Her right eye was swollen and EMS was immediately called for medical assistance.

The woman was later identified as the victim in this case.

According to the victim, she woke up around 5:a.m to get ready to go to work and discovered her husband talking on his cell phone. She did not pay attention to her husband because she getting ready to work and her 12-year old daughter was playing with her laptop, right next to her husband in the living room.

While she was in her room, her daughter came to her and told her that her dad was talking to a woman on the phone and they were having an argument. The victim’s daughter further told her mother that she overheard the woman on the phone yell profanities at her dad.

The victim confronted her husband about his phone conversation and as the victim was demanding answers from her husband, her husband (defendant) stood up and punched her in the right eye, pulled her hair and pushed her to the floor. The defendant then turned around and slapped his daughter in the face. That was when the defendant swore at his wife and daughter and told them to get out of the house.

The defendant was sitting outside of the house when cops arrived where he was apprehended and later transported to the TPS for further investigation.

Before the defendant explained to investigators what happened, he was Mirandized and agreed to make a statement about what happened.

According to the defendant’s statement, he admits hat he assaulted his wife and daughter and swore at them.

The defendant further stated that he was sorry for his actions and said that he was unable to control his anger and as a result, he beat up his own family.

ONOSA'I SETU

A man was arrested on the side of the road last month and was taken into custody after drugs were found in his pocket.

Onosa’i Setu made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), both unclassified felonies.

Bail is set at $5,000 and the preliminary examination is scheduled for next week.

On Oct. 10, 2022, detectives of the DPS Vice and Narcotic Unit (VNU) were notified of a possible drug case by the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS).

According to the traffic officers, they were patrolling the Malaeimi public highway when they observed broken beer bottles on the side of the road, adjacent to a store and they stopped to investigate.

The officers told VNU detectives that upon their arrival at the scene, a male, later identified as Onosa’i Setu, the defendant in this matter, was standing near the broken glass bottles.

Officers asked Setu if he was responsible for the broken glass bottles, to which Setu responded that he was not. While speaking to Setu, one officer observed Setu holding what seemed to be a glass pipe wrapped in a white piece of paper.

Officers asked Setu what he was holding in his hand, and that is when Setu replied, “oh nothing I just use this to wipe my nose.” One of the officers said that while Setu was replying to him, Setu wiped his nose with the paper, that was in his hand and then immediately discarded it behind him.

Officers added that they observed something falling out from the paper Setu discarded and that is when Setu was detained by one officer while the other officer attempted to retrieve whatever had been discarded.

The officer discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance. Setu was searched at the scene and three small stamp-sized baggies all containing a white crystalline substance were found inside his left pocket.

Cops also found one hand rolled marijuana cigarette inside Setu’s wallet.

He was then placed inside a police unit and transported to the TPS for questioning.

He was Mirandized and told officer’s he would answer questions regarding the incident. According to Setu, he heard the sound of breaking beer bottles on the side of the road while he was watching TV inside his shack at the back of the store.

He ran to the front to see who threw the beer bottles on the road but he didn’t see anybody. As he was standing in the area where the broken glass was, the police unit pulled up and drugs were subsequently found in his pocket. Setu admitted the drugs found on him were his.

The crystalline substance yielded positive for meth and the green leafy substance yielded positive for THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.

Setu was transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and confined.