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His bad luck starts with a traffic stop… then his tattoo nails him

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of burglarizing a home in Fogagogo and a store in the Iliili area at the beginning of this year was arrested last month on drug charges during a traffic stop in Nu’uuli.

It was during his arrest that officers discovered that that there was an active warrant from early this year to arrest the defendant.

The defendant, Wayne Mapu, a.k.a Ueli Mapu made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He later waived his right to a preliminary hearing and the case has been bound over to High Court.

The government has filed two separate cases against Mapu.

In the first case, Mapu is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a felony punishable by imprisonment of 5-10 years, a fine of $5,000-$20,000 or both.

In the second case, which is the two burglaries from last year, Mapu is charged with 2 counts of burglary in the first degree, a class B felony punishable by 5-15 years in jail, while stealing is a class C felony that carries a jail term of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime up to a maximum of $20,000, or both fine and imprisonment for each count; along with two count of stealing, a class C felony.

Bail is set at $25,000.


On Aug.21, 2021 three officers conducted speeding enforcement across from a store in the Malaeimi area. At about 7a.m, they stopped a speeding vehicle that was heading west. Two males were inside, the driver and a passenger sitting in the back seat behind the driver.

The driver identified himself to police as Wayne Mapu, and did not have a valid driver’s license or any other form of identification on him. It was later confirmed that his license had expired in February, 2019

While questioned by officers, Mapu looked and acted nervous, and also tried to reached into his rear pocket. When officers asked him if everything was okay, Mapu said no and told officers that he was in a rush to pick his children up from home and drop them at school.

Mapu was then told that his vehicle would be impounded at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and he would be taken in for further questioning. He was handcuffed and rode in the passenger seat of his vehicle while a cop took the wheel. The passenger was instructed to exit the vehicle and was later searched per police procedures — nothing was found on the passenger.

The passenger was questioned by police at the TPS after he was searched and later on that morning, he was released.

Before heading to the police station, Mapu handed a blue back bag to one officer, to give to his passenger (who identified himself to police as Anthony Uati). Inside the back bag was shopping from the store. Mapu told the officers that it was the shopping for his children and Uati need to be taken home because he (Mapu) was being taken to the TPS for questioning.

 The cop handed the bag of shopping to Uati and asked Uati if he knew who owns the shopping inside the blue back bag. Uati told officers the shopping belonged to Mapu and he has no idea what’s inside the bag.

The side part of the blue back bag was open and a small plastic container could easily be seen in the side of the bag. When Uati got the blue back bag, he quickly grabbed the small container that was in the side of the bag and put it inside his pocket while officers were watching.

Officers were suspicious and asked Uati if they could look inside the blue back bag. Uati agreed and handed over the bag to officers and again informed officers that he have no idea what was inside the bag.

Officers also asked him to hand over the small container he had placed inside his pocket to them. Uati complied. Again, he informed officers that the bag and the container belonged to Mapu.

Inside the blue bag was shopping, however, when officers opened the small plastic container, they discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance, along with Mapu’s photo ID from his workplace and two hand rolled cigarette contained green leafy substance.

Uati was then placed in the police unit and the cop held on to the bag and the small container until their arrival at TPS. Once there, the cop returned the small container to Mapu and asked him who owned it. Mapu did not respond. He just looked down. Officers continued the search inside the small plastic container and found a small stamp size baggie containing white crystalline substance.

Officers also searched Mapu for weapons or illegal drugs. The search netted 2 small stamp-sized baggies containing a white crystalline substance that later tested positive for meth inside his rear pocket.

Uati was also searched, but nothing was found in his possession.

When questioned by police, Uati said he had known Mapu for two weeks now and they met at a mechanic shop in the Tafuna area when he went to fix his vehicle. He said Mapu would ask him for help with his plantation and he (Mapu) would pay him.

According to Uati, they went to the store for shopping and on their way back home, a police unit pulled over their vehicle and he saw Mapu quickly pull a small plastic container from his pocket and hide it on the side of the blue back bag containing the shopping.

One of the cops who escorted Mapu to TPS told the lead investigator that during the ride, Mapu behaved strangely. He looked nervous and wouldn’t stop moving and kicking his feet. En route to the police station, Mapu grabbed the ash tray and spilled its contents on the floor. One officer immediately pulled the ash tray away from him and asked what he was doing. Mapu did not respond.

When questioned by investigators, Mapu said the drugs found in his possession and inside the small gray bag belonged to his friend at the mechanic shop. He told investigators that William has nothing to do with the drugs found in his possession.

Investigators informed Mapu that there is an active warrant for his arrest from the court last year for his role in two separate burglaries in the Tafuna area. Mapu replied that it was him and his other friend who has already left the island.

Mapu’s vehicle was searched in his presence. Police found a pipe containing white crystalline substance on the floor of the passenger side, wrapped in white paper. There was also a green leafy substance scattered all over the sides of the rug on the passenger side. Two closed off straws were also discovered underneath a soda can in the passenger’s side cup holder.

During arraignment in High Court last week, Mapu pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges against him. Pretrial conference is November.


According to court filings, on Jan. 27, 2021, police were informed about a burglary that allegedly occurred 5 days earlier. The homeowners are said to have been in Manu’a when their house was burglarized.

The homeowner told police that when he got to the his house, many personal belongings were not in their usual place and the back door was damaged.

A woman who lives nearby told police that a man with a tattoo on his neck and his left shoulder visited the house 4 times the same week before the couple returned from Manu’a.

The tattooed man was later identified as Wayne Mapu, the defendant.

Mapu told police that he planned to break into the home after his friend who lived in the area told him that the homeowners were not in town. He further admitted that he damaged the back door to gain entry into the home, where he stole several items that he sold to a friend in Ottoville.

The couple told police that the estimated value of the stolen property is $490.


According to the government’s case, the storeowner reported to police that his business was burglarized and the culprit(s) gained entrance by prying open a piece of plywood nailed to the back side of the store on Jan. 28th, 2020. Several items and money were removed from the store.

When police interviewed an eyewitness about the burglary, the eyewitness told investigators that he saw Mapu and another male enter the back door of the store at night and take several items.

Court filings say that Mapu told police that his friend informed him about the open spot at the back of the store, where an air conditioning unit was to be mounted.

Mapu admitted that he pulled both sides of the plywood off to gain entrance into the store, while his friend waited outside of the store. Mapu said he took items, including $140 and $30 in coins, and he and his accomplice split it.