Charges agains one defendant in Amouli drug case dismissed
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Charges against one of the co-defendants in the Amouli and Alofau drug cases were dismissed last week after the District Court was unable to find probable cause to bind the case over to High Court for further hearing.
The defendant, Telesia Aloniu Toniga, who has been in custody since her arrest on Jan. 3, 2022, unable to post a $50,000 surety bond, appeared in District Court last week for her preliminary examination (PX).
Mrs. Toniga, along with her husband are each charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth with intent to distribute and one count of unlawful possession of meth, both felonies; along with three counts of possession of prohibited weapons and one count of possession of unlicensed arms, all class A misdemeanors, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Mrs. Toniga, along with her husband, Si’uaana Toniga, a.k.a Kiuga were arrested by armed detectives of the Vice and Narcotic K9 Unit when they executed a search warrant on the couple’s home in Amouli in the early hours of Jan. 3, and discovered weapons, ammunition and paraphernalia.
Near the couple’s bed where their 2-year-old daughter also slept, investigators discovered a black fanny pack containing a quantity of meth and $500 cash.
Toniga’s defense attorney argued to the court that his client had no knowledge about any drugs that were inside the house. Everything was allegedly under her husband’s control. The court was convinced and dismissed the case against Mrs. Toniga.
Mr. Toniga’s case is now in High Court after he waived his rights to a PX 2 weeks ago. His pretrial conference is scheduled for March of this year after he entered a not guilty plea to all the charges against him during his arraignment.
The charges against the Toniga couple stem from an incident when armed detectives and police officers of the DPS Vice and Narcotic K-9 Unit executed a search warrant at the couple’s home in Amouli.
During the search, investigators discovered crystalline substances drug paraphernalia, handguns, ammunition and a rife.
All crystalline substance recovered at the couple’s house during the search was tested and yielded a positive result for meth.
When ask about the items recovered, Toniga informed investigators that the two-fanny packs belonged to him as well as the weapons.
After the house, the search continued to the couple’s vehicle parked outside the house, where they discovered a police radio and a police soft cap.
The couple was detained and later transported to police headquarters in Fagatogo for further investigation.