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COURT REPORT: Probation violations, expired IDs, drug offenses, PPDs clutter courts

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested during a traffic stop last month is now facing felony charges for violating local drug laws. Thirty-six year old, Lio Williams appeared in court last month for his initial appearance.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth); one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies; along with one count of prohibited place of consumption; one count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one count of resisting arrest, both class A misdemeanors.

Bail is set at $10,000.


On Nov. 15th, 2021 at about 6:25 p.m, a vehicle was pulled over for speeding by police in the Iliili area. Two males were inside the vehicle and the driver was later identified as Savelio Williams, the defendant in this matter and a male passenger who was sitting in the backseat behind the driver.

While speaking with Williams, officers observed two open bottles of beer between Williams and the passenger.

When asked about the beer containers, Williams told police that they belonged to his friend (passenger). When asked why there are two open beer containers inside the vehicle, Williams told officers that one beer belonged to the passenger, while the other belonged to his uncle who owns the vehicle.  He told police that his uncle had been drinking in the vehicle while the vehicle was parked outside of their house and the reason why he drove the vehicle was to buy more beer for his uncle.

When instructed by officers to step outside of the vehicle, Williams refused. He told officers that they needed to call his uncle to confirm his statement. Again, Williams was instructed to exit the vehicle but the suspect continued to ignore the officers’ instruction and stayed inside the vehicle.

Officers then opened the driver’s door and pulled Williams out of the vehicle while the suspect was trying to push officers away from him. Officers placed handcuffs on the suspect and immediately placed him inside a police unit.

Before Williams was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation, he was patted down and officers discovered a small pouch in his rear pocket.

When asked what was inside the pouch, Williams shook his head and said, “That’s why I refused to exit the vehicle because you don’t have the right to search me. You’re violating my constitutional rights with an illegal search.”

Officers again asked Williams what was inside the black pouch, and he replied in a low voice, “It’s stuff that belongs to me and it’s for my own personal use.” When asked about what “stuff” he was referring to, Williams replied, “it’s drugs.”

Officers opened the pouch and discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance, along with two small baggies containing a green leafy substance.

Williams was then transported to the TPS and detectives from the Vice & Narcotics Unit were notified regarding the illegal drugs allegedly discovered during the traffic stop.

Regarding the illegal drugs, Williams told investigators that he met a man at a bus stop in Nu’uuli three days prior to the incident and the man told him to come over to his house in Iliili if he wanted to buy drugs. Williams provided investigators with the location of the house where he bought the drugs and also the description of the man.

Investigators also questioned the male passenger who was in the vehicle with the suspect. The passenger corroborated Williams’s statement, saying on their way back home, Williams told him that the black pouch contained illegal drugs. The passenger was released pending further investigation.


A man convicted for public peace disturbance (PPD) while on probation was sentenced last month to serve 30 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) as a condition of his 12 months probation.

Satuala Aifili was placed on probation for 6 months after he was convicted last year for PPD, a class B misdemeanor. One of the many conditions of probation included keeping the peace with his girlfriend and remaining law abiding.

In the beginning of this year, police re-arrested him on another PPD charge for which he was convicted last month, the same date he was sentenced to 30 days incarceration for violating his 12-months probation.

Aifili was arrested during a public disturbance in Ottoville where he and his friends were involved in a fight with other young men from the neighborhood. He was loud and yelling profanities while holding a beer bottle in his hand.


The sentencing of a man convicted of unlawful possession of meth was continued from last week to this week.

Jeremiah Fina, who is out on bond appeared in High Court last week for sentencing, however, the court continued sentencing.

Probation informed the bench regarding what happened during Fina’s drug test earlier in the morning before he appeared for sentencing. According to Probation, Fina tested positive for meth.

During the test, Fina allegedly tampered with the test kit by pouring water in it when he was asked to provide a urine sample for the drug test.

Some time ago the court set up a standard procedure for all drug offenders appearing before the court for sentencing. They must submit themselves for a drug test before they appear in court for sentencing.

The court informed Fina that the drug test required his participation and messing around with the test is contempt of court. Fina was ordered to perform his drug test again after his hearing last week.

Samoa News understands that Fina tested positive for meth and he was taken into custody awaiting his next hearing tomorrow.


Fina was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, an unclassified felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine up to $20,000, or both. However, under a plea agreement with the government, he pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of meth, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Fina’s conviction stems from an incident that occurred on May 30, 2020 after patrol officers in the Nu’uuli area conducted a traffic stop on a red pickup truck for a traffic violation. The driver of the vehicle was later identified as Jeremiah Fina, the defendant in this matter. Fina, along with his wife and children were in the vehicle when police pulled it over.

Fina’s vehicle was observed with additional lights on the front. The numerous additional lights, included an emergency light added to the front side of the vehicle.

When Fina was stopped, his driver’s license was found to have expired two years ago.

While traffic officers were speaking to Fina, the DPS Vice and Narcotics/K9 Unit arrived at the scene. K9 Caino conducted a search around the vehicle for illegal drugs. According to the government, investigators requested Fina for his consent to search his vehicle after K9 Caino showed interest in the driver’s side of the vehicle.

Fina denied the police request to search his vehicle, however he was informed by police that due to the fact he did not have a valid driver’s license and his vehicle had lights attached that were illegal, they would impound his vehicle and he would be transported to the Tafuna Substation (TPS) for further investigation.

It was at the TPS, while Fina’s handcuffs were being removed that an officer observed that Fina was holding something in his hand; and when he opened his hand, police observed two cut-up straws containing a white crystalline substance.

The white crystalline substance was tested and the results were positive for meth.

No additional drugs were found on Fina or inside the impounded vehicle.

When asked about the two cut-up straws containing meth found in his hand, Fina admitted to police that they belonged to him.


A man from Samoa with an expired ID was arrested for making unreasonable noise in front of a restaurant in the Nuuuli area last month. He then spent 34 days at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) after the court ordered a no bail status due to his illegal immigration status.

Last week, Pati Vaalele appeared in court for his pretrial conference. When his case was called, the defense attorney informed the court that his client was ready to enter a guilty plea to the charge of disturbing the pubic peace (PPD).

By his guilty plea, Vaalele admits that on July 12th, 2021, he walked in front of a restaurant in the Nuuuli area very intoxicated and making loud noises.

When asked about his actions, Vaalele told the court that nobody was there when he walked around the parking lot of the restaurant. The only person he saw that night was a security guard and he believed that the guard was mad at him for making unreasonable noises, so security then called the cops.

According to Immigration, Va’alele’s ID expired while he was under arrest. His hearing before the Immigration Board to renew his ID is now scheduled for next week.

The court sentenced the defendant to 6 months probation under several conditions, including not consuming alcohol or possessing illegal drugs. He is also subject to testing when required by Probation.

He will serve 45 days at the TCF, credited for the 34 days he served while awaiting the outcome of his case. The balance of his period of detention was suspended by the court.

He is ordered to attend and complete alcohol counseling and pay a fine of $100.


The court has set bail at $500 for Fasi Tau, who was taken into custody last month following an incident in Petesa where he is alleged to have gone to his neighbor’s home with a sharp object, and also challenged people in the neighborhood to a fight.

Tau, who made his initial appearance in court this month, is charged with misdemeanor public peace disturbance (PPD).

The prosecutor told the court that the government may file additional charges, as the police investigation continues on allegations of possible trespassing and making verbal threats.

If Tau is able to post bail, he is ordered not to bother his neighbor or attempt to set foot on his property. He is also not to make any direct or indirect contact with him.

Tau will appear in court again on Mar. 21, 2022 for review.

According to court information, the PPD charge stems from a disagreement between Tau and his neighbor over the access road used by both families. Tau contends that the neighbor should not be using the access road because he and his children have spent a lot of time cleaning it.

Not only have they planted trees and plants to make it look good but also maintain it by cleaning it everyday.

But the neighbor claims that the access road is on their family property and therefore, Tau and his family should not be using the road at all. The neighbor contacted police for assistance after Tau allegedly came to his house and used a sharp object in a threatening manner, in addition to making verbal threats to an elderly man who questioned Tau about his actions.

It’s alleged that Tau’s actions came after a drinking session he had with friends at his home. When interviewed by police, Tau admitted that he had a sharp object and was making threatening statements to people in the neighborhood. He said he was just trying to prove a point to his neighbor, but he had no intention of hurting anyone.

Tau is not new to the court as in 2016 he was sentenced by the District Court to 12 months probation after being convicted of third degree assault and property damage, both class A misdemeanors.