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Bench warrant lands man back in custody

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who was released on bond awaiting the outcome of his matter in High Court where he’s charged with violating local drug laws is now back in custody after he was arrested last week pursuant to a bench warrant from the court.

Rino Faitala appeared in High Court two weeks ago on an Order to Show Cause hearing pursuant to a court order.

According to the court, one of the conditions of release for Faitala was to make all of his court appearances. Faitala failed to appear in court last month for his pretrial conference. As a result, the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Faitala was served with a copy of the bench warrant at the District Court when he went to visit the Probation Office two weeks ago. He was immediately taken into custody to await his initial appearance last Monday morning.

The defense attorney informed the court that he’s also aware that there is a pending motion to revoke bond against his client before the court. He then asked to set a hearing date. The hearing was set for next month.

The court stated that the reason why the court issued the bench warrant was that the court couldn’t find the defendant.

Faitala was remanded back into custody.


Faitala is charged with one count each of illegal possession of marijuana and illegal possession of methamphetamine, both felonies. Bail was set at $10,000.

The charges against Faitala stem from an incident when a police officer followed a truck driven by the defendant on Feb. 8, 2020 and met up with him in the parking lot of a store in Nuuuli village. The truck did not have a current sticker and Faitala did not have a driver’s license. The truck was then impounded and an inventory of the truck carried out, in Faitala’s presence.

At this time, police discovered a large plastic ziplock bag that held a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine with a useable amount of white crystalline substance inside. Also found were two stamp-sized plastic baggies containing a 'white crystalline substance' that appeared to be meth. In addition, a "neatly folded newspaper" with what appeared to be 'dried marijuana leaves' was found.