Man arrested for allegedly stealing unspecified govt equipment
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man convicted of stealing equipment belonging to the government and later violating local drug laws is going to jail. Malaki Sefulu was ordered to serve 28 months in jail as a condition of his 7-year probation.
Sefulu, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.
The government charged Sefulu in two separate cases: first-degree burglary and stealing in the first case, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine in the second case.
But under a plea agreement with the government, Sefulu pled guilty to stealing and the amended charge of unlawful possession of meth.
Sefulu admits that on Oct. 21, 2019, he entered government property in Tafuna and took off with equipment, which he later sold to another man for drugs. He also damaged the fence and some of the property inside the government compound.
Three days later, on Oct. 24th, when he was arrested for the stealing case, cops found on him two glass pipes containing methamphetamine.
When given the chance to speak, Sefulu, a U.S citizen apologized and asked for forgiveness. He said spending over 16 months in prison has taught him a good lesson. He asked the court to allow him to depart the territory and return to the U.S. where his parents reside, so he can find a job and care for them. He said he prefers living in the U.S. rather than in American Samoa because here he has a lot of friends who use alcohol and drugs and he doesn’t want to have any connection with them.
He told the court that he wanted to change his life and be a grown up man whom his family will depend on.
Attorneys from both sides asked for probation.
Before ruling on the case, the court told the defense attorney that based on the information, the court believes American Samoa is the best place for his client to live. However, if the borders open and there is a return airline ticket for Sefulu to return to the U.S., the court will suspend its sentence and allow him to return to his parents.
Sefulu was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 7 years subject to several conditions including that he serve 28 months at the TCF. He was credited for the time he spent in pretrial confinement, which was 16 months.
Upon release from custody, Sefulu is ordered to seek and secure gainful employment, stay away from alcohol and illegal drugs. He will be subject to random testing to make sure he’s in compliance with the stay clean order.