Defendant arrested in drug bust last year, enters plea
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the three defendants arrested after armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed two search warrants early last year in Tafuna and Malaeimi has entered into a plea agreement with the government.
Keneti Iosua, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Iosua, 46, was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony punishable by not less than five or more than ten years in jail, and a fine of not less than $5,000 or more than $20,000, or both.
However, in a plea agreement with the government, Iosua pled guilty to unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. With his guilty plea, Iosua admits that on Feb. 21, 2019 he unlawfully possessed two small baggies, which contained meth.
According to terms of the plea agreement, the government claims when several police detectives executed a search warrant on a blue pickup truck that was parked in front of a store in Tafuna, two men and a woman were inside the truck, and one of them was Iosua.
During a body search of Iosua, officers discovered two small baggies containing meth in his front right pocket.
When asked what the baggie contained, Iosua said it was methamphetamine. He told police that the three of them in the truck had gone to Vaitogi to deliver meth to two men earlier that day, and the person had bought $800 worth of meth from the owner of the truck, who was later identified as Vine Setefano, one of the co-defendants in this case.
Iosua also told police that he had seen a lot of money and meth inside Setefano’s black pouch while he was in Setefano’s vehicle. He added that the two baggies that were in his pocket were given to him by Setefano, free of charge. He said he helped his friend Setefano sell meth for 6 months before they were caught, and Setefano would sell the substance from his home in Tafuna, or deliver meth if people didn't come to his home.
Iosua’s plea agreement was accepted by the court and sentencing is scheduled for July 30th.
The cases against the other two co-defendants in this case, Setefano and Sofia Lolenese, are still pending in High Court, and they are scheduled to appear in court next month for their pretrial conference.
Setefano is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine with intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, both class D felonies.
Setefano is still in custody unable to post a $15,000 cash bond, while Lolenese, who is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, a felony, was released on a $5,000 surety bond.