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Court Report: Land dispute precipitates vandalism and death threat

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Salote Taafua appeared in District Court last week pursuant to a summons from the court.

Taafua is charged with 2nd- degree property damage, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, or both.

Pretrial conference for Taafua is set for next month.

According to the government’s case, it was on Nov. 5, 2022 about 6p.m when a woman called the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for assistance.

According to the reporter, Taafua and another individual (whose name was mentioned in the court affidavit) came to reporter’s (victim) house to discuss a dispute over property boundaries. After the victim told them to get out of her house, Taafua and the other individual removed the orange fencing and rebar on the property of victim.

According to the victim, the fencing and rebar cost approximately $450.

Taafua also walked over to the back of the house and struck the victim’s vehicle with a rock causing damage to the window of the driver’s door and also to the back window of the vehicle.

The victim called out to Taafua to get off her property but Taafua threatened to use a knife to cut her throat.

Taafua, along with the other individual then left the victim’s property.


A young man accused of stealing a rental car and crashing it into another vehicle on the Nu’uuli public highway two years ago is now in custody after police arrested him last month pursuant to an arrest warrant.

During his arrest, cops found a glass pipe containing methamphetamine (meth) inside is pocket. The defendant, Fereti Faamanatu appeared in Court last month for his initial appearance.

The government alleges that on Sept. 17, 2020, a woman rented a car to be returned, according to the rental agreement, on Sept. 27, 2020.

When the car was not returned, in a timely manner, the car rental owner reported the matter to police and the person who rented the car was questioned by police.

According to the woman who rented the car, on Sept. 27, 2020  Faamanatu, her nephew, told her the rental car had already been turned back in when she asked about its whereabouts.

The woman later found out that Faamanatu lied and the rental car was never returned to the owner.

Police turned their investigation to Faamanatu, the person who last drove the car. When questioned by police, Faamanatu admitted that he stole the vehicle from his aunt to go see his girlfriend in Nu’uuli, and on his way back, he crashed the rental car into a pickup truck parked on the side of the road in Nu’uuli. He left the rental car at the scene and ran away.

Two years after this incident, a police detective was assigned to follow up on the case of the stolen rental vehicle.

An arrest warrant was signed and issued in September 2022 for Faamanatu but he could not be found.

Last month, investigators learned where Faamanatu worked and he was arrested at his workplace and transported to the TPS for investigation.

 During a body search, a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance was found.

Faamanatu made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, an unclassified felony, one count of stealing, by appropriating a rental car belonging to a car rental company, a class C felony punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years, a $5,000 fine, or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain fro the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Bail is $15,000.


A man is now in custody after he was arrested last week after a glass pipe containing meth was found inside his pocket.

A woman, who was a passenger on an aiga bus heading to Leone called 911 for assistance after an intoxicated male, who was also a passenger allegedly touched her back in a sexual manner.

Several officers responded to the call and pulled over the aiga bus in front of a store in Faleniu. The female who contacted police for assistance identified herself when officers entered the bus. She also pointed to the male, who allegedly touched her inappropriately.

Police approached the intoxicated male and asked him to come with them to the police station for further investigation. The male individual was later identified as Salima Farani, the defendant in this matter.

Before Farani was transported to the police station for questioning, he was patted down, and the body search netted police a glass pipe inside his pocket.

When asked by investigators, Farani confirmed that the glass pipe containing meth belonged to him. He further admitted that he touched the female passenger on the bus inappropriately.

Farani made his initial appearance in court last week.

He is charged with unlawful possession of meth, a felony; along with 3rd- degree assault and public peace disturbance, the latter two are misdemeanors.

Bail is set at $5,000.


A man from Vaitogi is now in custody on the allegation that he assaulted his girlfriend and later dragged her inside a vehicle while she was screaming for help on January 23, 2022.

It is not clear at this time why it took so long for the government to arrest the defendant in this case.


On the morning of Jan. 23, 2022, a woman contacted the TPS requesting police assistance regarding a man who came uninvited onto their family land and allegedly assaulted her niece by punching her in the face and later dragging her into a pickup.

Fortunately, the victim’s brother intervened and managed to free the victim. The victim was then escorted to her home and cops were immediately alerted regarding the alleged incident.

Willie Afoa was later identified as the defendant in this case.

According to the police report the defendant and the victim had two children while they were living together. After 7 years of their relationship, the victim left the defendant in December of 2021 and moved into her aunt’s home in Fogagogo with her two daughters.

The victim’s aunt told investigators that after the victim was freed from defendant during the incident, she saw the defendant take off running and was picked up by a vehicle that drove off at a high rate of speed.

According to the victim, she had just been dropped off by her two female cousins in front of their home — her aunt’s residence in Fogagogo — and was about to make her way onto the house, when her brother, who was standing in front on the house, told her, “Your boyfriend was looking for you yesterday, last night and also this morning.” She ignored his comment.

The victim told police that it was at that very moment that she saw the defendant appear in front of the gate of their house and called out to her to come over to him. She didn’t want to go, but out of respect and the fact that she didn’t want a disturbance, she complied and walked over to him.

The defendant approached her angrily and asked about her whereabouts the previous night.

Raising his voice, he then began to assault her and allegedly dragged her over to a pick-up parked on the side of the road and pushed her inside. The victim told investigator that a skinny male was seen siting in the driver’s seat.

She said that while the defendant continued with the assault, she saw her brother running towards the car to pull her out. It was at this point that the defendant released the victim and yelled out to the driver to take off.

 Police interviewed the victim’s brother and his friend as witnesses to the alleged incident and they confirmed the victim’s account.

The defendant was finally located last month, when an off-duty police sergeant spotted him and notified the TPS about the defendant and the active arrest warrant from the alleged domestic violence incident at the beginning of this year.

The defendant was apprehended and was transported to the TPS for further investigation. Before he was taken into the police unit, police conducted a body search where police discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance, and a small stamp-sized baggie containing a green leafy substance.

The white crystalline substance tested positive for meth, while the green leafy substance tested positive for THC/ marijuana.

After being Mirandized, the defendant refused to make a statement.

The defendant made his initial appearance in court last month. He has been charged by the government in two separate cases.

In the first case, the defendant is charged with one count of felonious restraint involving domestic violence and one count of attempted kidnapping involving domestic violence, both class C felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of $5,000 but not less than $150 pursuant to A.S.C.A 47.0402, or both.

Bail in this case is set at $20,000.

In the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies which carry on imprisonment sentence between 5 to 10 years, a fine between $5,000 and $20,000, or both.

Bail in this case is set at $10,000.