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Man charged with drug possession and attempted burglary

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has charged a 26-year-old man with unlawful possession of marijuana, public peace disturbance, and attempted burglary, for trying to break into a store in Puapua.

Richard Gafa made his initial appearance in District Court this week. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Bpb Stuart while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Christy Dunn.

Bond for Gafa, who has a long criminal history, is set at $5,000.

According to the government, cops were tipped off by a man who reported that a male tried to break in to a store in Puapua by throwing rocks at the back door of the establishment on the night of Nov. 22, 2019.

Police responded but were unable to locate the suspect. A week later,  the same caller contacted police again, saying the alleged culprit was within sight.

When cops arrived this time, the witness pointed to the defendant who was hanging out with other village youth. Police approached Gafa and asked if he could come with them to the station. While speaking with police, Gafa turned and ran to the back of a  church. A foot chase ensued.

Gafa was subsequently apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. Prior to that, cops found four rolled cigarettes wrapped inside a white blank paper in Gafa’s right pocket during a body search. Gafa told police he got the marijuana cigarettes from a friend, whose identity was not revealed.

When asked about the alleged attempted store break-in, Gafa denied any knowledge of the incident.