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Court allows defendant in 2 drug cases to continue his release on bond

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old man facing multiple drug charges appeared in High Court this paast week. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey, while Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson is representing Sierra Isaia, who continues to be released on a $2,000 cash bond.

Isaia was charged in two separate cases.

In the first case, he was charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute; and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine — both felonies.

In the second case, he was facing one count of unlawful possession of meth.

Under a global plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Isaia — in the first case — pled guilty to the amended count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He also agreed to plead guilty to the amended count of unlawful possession of meth in the second case.

Both are class D felonies punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both — for each charge.

With his guilty plea, Isaia admits that on Aug. 26, 2017, he had on him a glass pipe containing meth. He further admits that while released on bond to await the outcome of his first case, he was arrested on Dec. 11, 2017 for possession of a glass pipe containing meth.

According to terms of the plea agreement, Isaia’s vehicle was pulled over by police for a loud muffler. Two people were in the vehicle: Isaia and a passenger.

During a body search, police uncovered illegal drugs on Isaia. A pretrial conference for that case was set for Dec. 1 but because Isaia failed to appear in court, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

On Dec. 11, 2017, police found Isaia during a routine patrol and allegedly found drugs on him, which resulted in him being arrested and charged in a second case.


After the court accepted the global plea agreement, Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked defense attorney Anderson if he wanted to argue his client’s release.

Anderson asked the court if Isaia could continue to be released on bond, pending sentencing. He said his client hasn’t missed any court hearings and he works hard for his wife and child.

According to court records, Isaia was released on a $15,000 cash bond when he was first arrested on Aug. 26, 2017. When he was arrested again on Dec. 11, 2017 bond was set at $2,000 cash, which he later posted.

Kruse granted the defense motion but under one additional condition: Isaia has to sign in at the Probation Office every Monday at 8:00a.m, and he has to remain clean at all times.

Kruse emphasized that ‘clean’ means no alcohol or illegal drugs in his system and also in his possession.

“If you don’t sign in every Monday, not only are you going to jail, but the court will take your $17,000 immediately. So, abide by this order,” Kruse told Isaia.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 11, 2019