Court hears 3 drug cases and a threat to behead
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 30-year-old man from Futiga arrested for making threatening remarks to his neighbor is now charged with violating local drug laws. Alema Faitala made his initial appearance in court last month.
The Tafuna Police Substation (TPC) received a phone call from a young man requesting police assistance after a man came to the family home with a machete and threatened to cut off his brother’s head.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the young man who had contacted police for assistance.
According to his statement to police, his family, including his parents, his young brother and two sisters were having a good time inside their home on the night when the alleged incident happened around 7:00p.m and their neighbor walked in front of their house holding a knife in his hand and shouted out to his younger brother that if he continued to spread rumors about him (defendant) and his family, he would cut off his head with the knife.
The man was later identified as Alema Faitala, the defendant in this case.
Faitala then left without any further statement to his brother.
Two days later, two police units with several police officers in response to a public peace disturbance call in Futiga after two men assaulted another man during a verbal argument in an Asian store.
As officers investigated the PPD case, a police sergeant who was with the investigating team saw Faitala in the store. The police sergeant knew Faitala from another PPD case with which he was also involved three months ago, but was not arrested.
The police sergeant followed Faitala inside the store and approached him, informing him about the alleged case where he went with a knife to another family’s home and made threatening remarks to the family.
Faitala looked nervous and started to walk away from the officer, however, the officer called for other officers outside the store for assistance and Faitala was placed under police custody and transported to the TPS for further investigation.
Before the defendant was interviewed, a body search was conducted where a glass pipe containing methamphetamine and two hand-rolled marijuana joints were found in his pants pocket.
After he was informed of his constitutional rights, he said that he understood his rights and refused to make a statement to police.
He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both; along with trespass and public peace disturbance, both misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $10,000.
The government has charged a 34-year-old man with unlawful possession of illegal drugs and for trying to break into a store in Nuuuli in August of last year. Uatau Tevita made his initial appearance in court last week after he was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant.
According to the government’s case, a man informed police about a male who tried to break into a store in Nuuuli by using a metal pipe to damage the back door and also side windows on the night of Aug. 16th, 2019 in an effort to gain entry into the store.
Several police officers responded to the call but were unable to locate the suspect. However, last month, the daughter of the man who contacted police for the alleged burglary called the TPS on Sept. 18, around 3:24p.m, saying the man her husband saw trying to break into a house in August of last year came to their house intoxicated.
When police arrived, the woman stated that the defendant left their house and walked to a nearby store after he heard her contact police.
Police approached Tevita in a nearby store and asked him to come with them to the station to discuss an important issue. Tevita started to resist by trying to push another officer away so that he could escape however, police stopped him and he was transported to the TPS for questioning.
Prior to transportation, a body search was carried out during which police discovered a small baggie containing green leaves inside Tevita’s right pocket. He told police that the marijuana leaves found in his possession were from a friend who lived in Iliili.
When asked about the alleged incident where he attempted to break into a store in the village, Tevita said he didn’t know anything about that case and he was never involved in any criminal behavior last year.
When asked why he tried to run away when police approached him in the store, Tevita said, “Because I had illegal drugs in my possession when police approached me.”
Tevita, who has a long criminal history, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, resisting arrest and attempted burglary in the second degree — all class D felonies, along with disturbing the public peace (PPD), a class B misdemeanor.
Tevita’s bond is set at $10,000.
If he posts bond, the court has ordered the usual restrictions, including he not set foot in the store he allegedly tried to break into and enter, and to not make any contact with the government's witnesses.
A 55-year-old man who was arrested during a traffic stop two weeks ago is now charged with violating local drug laws when illegal drugs were allegedly found in his possession. The man, Filipo Petelo told police that he bought drugs from the area called “Le Filifili” for his own personal use.
Petelo made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago.
His bail is set at $5,000 surety bond.
Petelo is now charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, both unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both.
According to the government’s case, it was on Sept. 9th while three police officers were patrolling in Leone heading west, they observed an oncoming vehicle been driven recklessly. Officers turned around and proceeded to chase after the vehicle, which turned into a business’ parking lot area in Leone.
Officers arrived and observed the driver standing outside of his vehicle acting as if he was trying to fix it. Police approached the driver who identified himself to police officers as Filipo Petelo the defendant in this matter.
Police proceeded to ask the defendant for his driver’s license, to which Petelo stated that did not have it in his possession, and he also told police that all of his photo ID’s were at home.
Officers then ran Petelo’s name through the driver’s license system that resulted in no record found indicating the name given by the defendant.
Officers informed the defendant of the discovery, but Petelo argued that he had a driver’s license. Officers then informed Petelo that the vehicle would be impounded because he was operating it without a driver’s license. The driver continued to argue with the officers, while walking to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
It was at that time when officers observed the defendant reach inside his vehicle, grab a small black bag and a cell phone. The officers clearly observed the defendant reach into his pocket and then toss something away from him. The officers discovered that the item tossed out by Petelo was a small baggie.
When the two officers attempted to arrest the defendant, the defendant resisted.
The officers then called for backup and were able to place the defendant under arrest and transport him to the TPS for questioning. The matter was transferred to investigators from the DPS Vice and Narcotic Unit to handle.
The small baggie the defendant allegedly threw on the ground contained white crystalline substance, and during a body search of the defendant, one hand rolled joint was found inside his left pocket.
The white crystalline substance was tested and turned out positive for methamphetamine, while the green leafy substance tested positive as marijuana.
When questioned about the illegal drugs found in his possession, the defendant immediately confessed to investigators and stated that the methamphetamine and marijuana belonged to him, and that he had purchased it from an unknown man in the area called Logotala Hill, a.k.a “Le Filifili”.
The defendant further stated to police that he often purchased meth and marijuana from Logotala Hill but never got more than $50 worth of methamphetamine and marijuana at a time.