Disturbing the peace leads to drug charges for two men
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men arrested by police on allegations that their actions disturbed the public peace in Kokoland last week are now facing additional charges on alleged drug violations.
Viliame Tevita and Afusia Maholi made their initial appearance in District Court last week.
They were each charged with third degree assault and public peace disturbance — both misdemeanors.
During their initial appearances, Tevita and Maholi were remanded back to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and were ordered to appear in court on the following day for their Status Hearing.
Prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell informed the court during their initial appearances that the government is looking at filing additional charges against both defendants.
When Tevita and Maholi appeared in court for their status hearing last Tuesday, they were both served with a copy of the arrest warrant containing the affidavit and the charges against them.
Tevita is being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a felony; while Maholie is being charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine); and unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana)- both felonies.
Their bail is set at $5,000 — a surety bond.
If they post their bonds, the court ordered them as per normal requirements, including no direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses including the victims in this case.
Preliminary examination for Tevita and Maholi is set for this Friday morning.
The government claims that on Nov. 6, 2019 around 7:45p.m, an elderly woman contacted the Tafuna Police station for assistance after her nephew and his male friend were beaten up by two men who were having a drinking session in front of another family’s residence.
The woman told police that her 27-year-old nephew was at his friend’s house, however, on their way to the store, one of the defendants confronted her nephew and asked for a lighter. When her nephew told the two defendants that he does not have a lighter, one of the defendants allegedly pushed him and punched him. The incident eventually led to a confrontation in which the two defendants beat up the nephew and his friend.
Several police officers responded to the call, and spoke to the woman who reported the incident and the two victims. Both victims sustained minor injuries on their facial area, but refused medical assistance at the hospital, telling police they were fine.
According to the nephew, they were on their way to the store to buy some food when one of the men who were having a drinking session on the back of a truck called out to him to come over.
The men were later identified as the two defendants in this matter.
Both defendants were apprehended in front of a store in Tafuna when police encountered their truck parked in front of the store. Both were immediately placed under arrest for safety reasons, and a body search was conducted at that time on each defendant.
Results were: police discovered 2 stamp-sized baggies containing a white crystalline substance inside Tevita pant’s pocket, and on Maholi, police discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance and one hand rolled joint inside a black pouch in his possession.
The white crystalline substance along with the green leaves from the hand rolled joint were tested and turned out positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, respectively.
Both Tevita and Maholi provided written statements to police. In their statements, they both admited that the illegal drugs found in their possession belonged to them.
Tevita told police he bought the two baggies of meth from his friend in Vaitogi. He did not reveal to police his friend’s name; and Maholi told police that the glass pipe was from a friend, who is a taxi driver, while a man named Kolia Apelu of Malaeimi gave him the marijuana joint.
According to court records, both Tevita and Maholi have prior felony convictions.
Tevita has been convicted of stealing, and was sentenced in 2012 to serve a period of detention of 28 months, as a condition of his 7-year probation. The government claimed that he broke into a home in Fagaima and stole several items worth more than $2,600.
Maholi was convicted in 2010 of unlawful possession of marijuana and served 20 months at TCF, as one of the conditions of his 5-year probation. According to the government’s case, Maholi was arrested when police found 7 hand rolled marijuana joints on his possession.