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Man facing multiple charges enters plea and will leave the territory

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Samoa who entered into a plea agreement with the government has been ordered by the court to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of his probation.

Limasene Valoaga, 35, appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.

Valoaga, who has been in custody since his arrest in Aug 22. 2020, unable to post a $10,000, surety bond, was initially charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a class D felony; along with third degree assault and public peace disturbance, both class A misdemeanors.

 But under a plea agreement with the government, Valoaga pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of meth.

With his guilty plea, Valoaga admits that on Aug. 22, 2020 he had a glass pipe containing meth.

Valoaga apologized to the court and begged for another chance so he can be released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to be with his family, especially his wife and three young children.

“I am truly remorseful for what I did. I have learned a good lesson in the 12 months I have been in prison, and I swear this will be my first and last time in court. Please, grant me a second chance so I can go back home to be with my family," said the defendant.

Attorneys from both parties asked the court to follow the recommendation from the Pre Sentence Report, for Valoaga to be placed on probation for 5 years. Defense’s attorney asked to suspend the condition of his client having to depart the territory, due to his illegal immigration status; however, the attorney for the government wanted the court to order the defendant to depart the territory immediately.

The court said the defendant was apprehended at a nightclub with a small amount of meth.

According to the court, police got a call from an unknown person who was in the nightclub, saying the defendant was selling drugs inside the club to other people.

Cops entered the nightclub in search of the defendant, who was in the bathroom. When police searched him, a glass pipe containing meth was found.

Valoaga was sentenced to 5 years in jail, but execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 5 years under the condition that he depart the territory immediately, and remain outside of its borders for the duration of his probation.

Associate Justice Fiti Sunia ordered that a copy of the court's decision be delivered to the Immigration Office to ensure the defendant’s name is on their lookout list.