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Drug charges added after man arrested for alleged assault in Malaeimi

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of five young children accused of assaulting a man with a metal pipe without reason was arrested by police last month and he’s now being charged. During his arrest, cops discovered illegal drugs in his possession.

Anthony Va’a made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), an unclassified felony; along with one count of 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by terms of imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Bail is set at $10,000.


On June 16, 2021 about 11:04p.m, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) was notified about a possible assault case in Malaeimi were a man sustained severe head injuries after being assaulted by an unknown person. A short time later a woman and her husband (the victim in this case) arrived at the TPS requesting police assistance regarding the man, who was bleeding from the left side of his head. Medical assistance was requested by officers, while other officers helped the victim inside the station.

According to the victim’s wife’s statement to investigators, the incident happened in Malaeimi, and she was the driver of their vehicle when they headed up a dirt road not far from the Manumalo Baptist Academy to drop off family members.

She said prior to reaching their destination, they saw a black pick-up truck parked next to the road and she observed four people standing outside of the vehicle — drinking. As their vehicle passed the truck, they heard the male who was wearing a red t-shirt cussing at them in Samoan, followed by a loud war cry.

She said she didn’t know these people, having never seen them before, or the truck. She also noted that while they drove by, one of her family members who was in the car told the males to leave the area and to not make so much noise disturbing families around the area.  The victim and his wife continued on their errand of dropping off a family member.

It was on their way back to the main road that the male that had cussed at them was seen standing in the middle of the road, waving at them to stop their vehicle. Her husband (victim) instructed her to continue driving, however, she decided to stop the vehicle after she saw the man holding a rock in his right hand while standing in the middle of the dirt road in an effort to stop the vehicle.

As they pulled over, the victim’s wife saw that the male was approaching the passenger’s side where her husband was sitting. The man asked the victim to come out of the vehicle so that they could discuss something important. The victim agreed and stepped out of the vehicle and asked the man what issue he wanted to discuss.

Without a word, the male allegedly punched the victim causing the victim to fall on the ground. The man then struck the victim’s head with a metal pipe causing a huge laceration. He also kicked the victim in his side and back.

The male then turned around and quickly ran to his truck parked on the other side of the road (close to ACE Hardware) got inside his truck and fled the area.

 The victim’s wife started calling out for help, while helping her husband by taking off his shirt and applying pressure to his head. She then drove to the TPS to report the alleged incident while a man living across the street contacted police for assistance.

She told investigators that they have no knowledge of who the suspect is and what the reason was behind his action.

Investigators also questioned the victim about the alleged incident after he was treated at the LBJ hospital where he echoed his wife’s statement, including the assault with a pipe. He also confirmed that he didn’t know the male or recognize his face. He had never seen him before.

The victim described the male as being of muscular build with a sleeve tattoo on his right chest and shoulder.

A police search then went out to locate the truck described by the couple.

In the meantime, the family member of the victim who told the four people who were drinking beer at the dirt road to leave the area, was already on the road looking for the truck after he was informed by the victim’s wife about the incident.

The suspect was nowhere to be found, however, last month, cops received a tip from a taxi driver saying that the person who assaulted the man in Malaeimi with a metal pipe is Iosefa Filiva’a.

Last month, the same taxi driver contacted police in to inform them that he had spotted the suspect’s truck parked at a restaurant parking lot in the Tafuna area. Police then proceeded to the parking lot and confirmed the truck was there.

Investigators approached the truck and discovered 5 males and one female standing near the truck and asked them if they had seen the driver of the truck. A male walked over and asked investigators why they were looking for the driver, and police replied they only wanted to speak to the driver. The male replied, “I’m the driver and I don’t understand why you’re looking for me.”

The police then told the male that they needed to speak with him regarding a matter that was reported to their office last month regarding a man who allegedly assaulted another man with a metal pipe.

That is when the male identified himself to investigators as the that driver of the vehicle and his name is Iosefa Filiva’a, the defendant in this case. He further told investigators that the truck belonged to his uncle.

Police asked Filiva’a to come with them to the TPS to discuss the reported incident but Filiva’a refused and told investigators that he was not going to the TPS or anywhere else because he wanted to spend time with his friends. He further told officers that he had not done anything wrong and he didn’t see any reason why he should go to the TPS.

Officers continued to request that the suspect come with them to the TPS to discuss the matter.

Upon refusal to cooperate with investigators, Filiva’a was apprehended, and the truck impounded at the scene and the suspect was transported to the TPS for questioning.

He was patted down per normal, and during the body search, officers discovered inside Filiva’a’s left pocket a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance inside. Officer searched another pocket and discovered a small stamp sized baggie containing a white crystalline substance.

An inventory on the vehicle was conducted at the TPS in the presence of Filiva’a. During inventory, investigators observed two empty cut up straws commonly used to sell drugs.

When asked about the incident, Filiva’a refused to offer any statement to investigators. He further refused to cooperate with investigators while processing his booking form. He was later confined at the Territorial Correctional Facility to await the next sitting of the Court.