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Father of 4 released after pleading guilty to possession of meth

American Samoa High Court building
Police say wife reported him; he says paraphernalia was not his

Pago Pagol, AMERICAN SAMOA — The 28-year-old father of 4 who pled guilty to unlawful possession of methamphetamine, after his wife called police and reported him as being in possession of a glass pipe containing meth, has been ordered by the court to stop doing drugs.

“If you are going to repeat this behavior, your wife will call the police again and the court will not give you any more chances,” Judge Elvis P. Patea told Oloaluga Viliamu, when he appeared in High Court yesterday morning for sentencing.

Unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) is a class D felony, punishable by jail time of up to five years, and a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson appeared on behalf of Viliamu, who has been in custody since his arrest; while Assistant Attorney General, Jason Mitchell represented the government.

When given the chance to address the court, Viliamu said he is remorseful and he has learned a good lesson in the nearly 4 months he has been imprisoned.

He apologized to the court and begged for another chance so he can return home and find a job to take care of his wife and their four young children. His wife is unemployed.

Viliamu’s attorney asked the court for a probated sentence, without any additional detention time. Anderson told the court that Viliamu is truly remorseful and he takes full responsibility for what he did. He added that there is a job waiting for his client once he is released from prison.

Anderson when asking for leniency explained that when his client was arrested, there were only 3 children at home. It was while he was in prison, that Viliamu's wife gave birth to their 4th child. If Viliamu is released from prison, it will be the first time he gets to see his baby.

The prosecutor echoed the defense’s request, saying Viliamu is a suitable candidate for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention.

Judge Patea agreed.

But before delivering his decision, he wanted to clarify something to the defendant.

“Viliamu, your version of what happened is different from the police’s version. You told the Probation Office that someone gave you the paraphernalia to give to somebody else, but according to the police version of what happened, it was your wife who called the police after she saw you with a glass pipe containing meth,” Patea told the defendant.

The court then sentenced Viliamu to 5 years probation with conditions.

He was ordered to serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF); however, the court credited him the 119 days he has already served, and the balance is stayed. That means, Viliamu will be released from TCF today at 4p.m.

He was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine within two years of his probation term, and he is to remain alcohol and drug free. He is subjected to random testing by the Probation Office.

“The court notes that you have a young family and your $2,000 fine is a huge amount of money. The court recommends you not wait until the two years is over before you start looking for the whole amount. Start now. The court will give you 45 days to seek employment and start paying your fine,” Patea told the defendant.