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Continuance in Alapati Mapu criminal case

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Acting Associate Justice Elvis Patea has accepted a request from the Public Defender's Office to continue Alapati Mapu’s pretrial conference to next month, so they can go through all the information pertaining to the first three criminal cases filed against him, and add a new criminal case filed just last week.

During Mapu’s most recent court appearance last month, his attorney informed the court that they have received discovery and an offer from the government, and he asked for a continuance to Nov. 7, which was last week.

When Mapu’s case was called, Public Defender Michael White informed the court that they have reached an agreement with the government in the first three criminal cases filed late last year, but they are seeking one more continuance to see if they can combine those three cases with a new case.

Prosecutor Laura Garvey echoed the defense attorney's request for another continuance, saying the defendant has a new criminal case in the District Court, and he’s scheduled to have his preliminary examination (PX) this Friday.

Mapu, who remains in custody unable to post a $10,000 bond was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, both felonies.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred Oct. 25, 2017 when police found drugs inside his vehicle and in his possession. A male passenger who was with Mapu, when police searched his vehicle, told police he went twice with Mapu to another place to buy drugs.

One week after Mapu was arrested and charged with drug possession, the government filed two more criminal cases against him, charging him with felony stealing for each case. The government claims the defendant took property from a person and sold it without the owner’s authorization.

For the fourth case, the one filed last week, the government is charging Mapu with one count of felony stealing.

Mapu is remanded in custody to await his next court appearance, which is scheduled for next month.