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Argument over who’s dealing drugs escalates with one injured and another in jail

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 40-year-old man accused of assaulting a man in Leone using a metal pipe to strike his victim’s head was arrested last month and made his initial appearance in District Court. During his arrest, cops discovered drugs inside his vehicle.

Samuelu Tasimilo is charged in two separate criminal cases.

In the first case, Tasimilo is charged with one count of second-degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Bond for this case is set at $10,000.

In the second case, Tasimilo is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five not more than ten years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both; along with one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor.

Bond for this case is set at $10,000.

The defense informed the court that his client wished to waive his rights to a preliminary hearing, and the case is now bound over to High Court where Milo will appear this morning for arraignment.


According to the government, it was late evening on Nov. 25, 2021 that a woman phoned the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that they were transporting to the LBJ Hospital, a male who was assaulted in Leone by another man and that the man who allegedly assaulted the injured man had fled the area in his red pickup truck heading east.

The victim was a 39-year-old man from Ottoville.

A few hours later, a little after midnight, a female, who is also the main witness, walked into the TPS to make a written statement regarding the matter.

According to the government, the witness, her female cousin along with Tasimilo picked up the victim from Ottoville and they ended up at the witness’s Leone home for a drinking session.

Close to midnight, the female friend of the homeowner got into a verbal argument with the victim. The argument started after the victim accused the female friend of the homeowner of selling drugs to earn money.

At this time, Tasimilo took a bathroom break because he didn’t want to listen to the victim and the female individual’s argument. However, the argument between the female witness and the victim escalated and got the point where the victim pushed the female and started to make threatening remarks.

Tasimilo returned from his bathroom break and walked straight to the area where the victim and the female were arguing and instructed the victim — not to touch the female anymore and stop talking about drugs because they never know if there’s anyone listening to their conversation.

A few moments later the victim and the female got into another verbal argument. This time Tasimilo was pissed off and yelled at the victim to shut up. He then walked back to the bathroom.

The female witness told police that when Tasimilo returned from the restroom, she saw him holding a steel pipe and striking the victim with it once on the head causing the victim to fall on the floor. Tasimilo then walked out of the house, jumped in his vehicle and fled.

The victim was immediately transported to the hospital via a private vehicle, and en route met up with an EMS unit.

After police officers received the information about Tasimilo, two patrol units tried to locate Tasimilo’s vehicle. About 1:14p.m, Tasimilo’s vehicle was pulled over by patrolling officers in Vaitogi and he was immediately taken into the TPS for further investigation. Tasimilo was alone inside his vehicle. Before he was taken into custody, he was patted down for weapons and drugs.

During the body search, officers discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance in his rear pocket. An inventory search of the vehicle discovered a small stamp sized baggie containing a white crystalline substance under the driver’s seat. Under the back seat, officers discovered another small stamp sized baggie containing a green leafy substance.

Tasimilo was transported to the TPS for questioning. His vehicle was also impounded for further screening.

He was Mirandized and agreed to speak to investigators about what happened.

When questioned about the alleged incident, Tasimilo confirmed to investigators what the main witness told police. He further told investigators that the victim is his female cousin’s boyfriend.

He said he feared that his cousin’s female friend was being harmed by the victim’s actions, so he grabbed a metal pipe that was behind the kitchen door and struck the victim’s head from behind.

Afterwards, the defendant said, the victim sat back down but he fell forward off the chair.

He told police that he immediately froze and regretted what had he had done to the victim. The defendant said his female cousin and her female friend flipped the victim over on his back and started mouth-to-mouth in tandem with chest compressions while he was standing and looking at him.

During that time, the victim was snoring and groaning, blood was dripping from the his head area because of a laceration on the top part of his skull.

The defendant told investigators that when the victim was transported to the hospital, he was still in shock about what had happened and started walking to find the police station. He said he was afraid that the victim might die if he continued to bleed from his head.

He walked to his vehicle, started the engine and drove away.

When investigators asked the defendant why he fled the area, Tasimilo replied he didn’t flee the area. He said he was heading to the TPS to turn himself in, however, before he get to the TPS, a police vehicle pulled his vehicle over and arrested him.

When questioned about drugs found in his possession and inside his vehicle, Tasimilo admitted that the drugs belonged to him. He said he bought the drugs from his old time friend who lives in the Vaitogi area.