Man just off probation busted again
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 50-year-old man, who was pulled over for a traffic violation, is being criminally charged, after police allegedly found illegal drugs in his possession.
When Tipena Leota appeared in court two weeks ago for a traffic citation, he was ordered to return to court on the following day for a status hearing.
When Leota showed up in court, he was served with an arrest warrant, attached to an affidavit supporting two felony charges against him.
Leota is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies, punishable by a jail term of 5-10 years and a fine of $5,000- $20,000.
If he is able to post a $5,000 bond, Leota is ordered to comply with standard conditions, including not making any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, and not leaving the territory.
The government claims that around 7 p.m, on Nov. 5, police received information regarding a person named “Whispa” who had just threatened two brothers in front of an Asian store in the Nu’uuli area by telling them that he would kill both of them if they continued to spread rumors about him (Leota) selling illegal drugs in the village.
Whispa is the nickname for Tipena Leota, the defendant in this matter.
According to the individual who called police, Whispa was sitting in the passenger seat while a female was the driver of the vehicle. The caller further gave police all the information about the vehicle, including the color, plate number and the type of vehicle.
After the vehicle was spotted and pulled over by police, Leota was immediately placed under arrest and transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning. Leota tried to resist but officers were able to control him and make the arrest.
Before Leota was transported to the police station, police conducted the standard body search, which allegedly netted the police two small baggies containing white crystalline substance in Leota’s left pocket, and inside his right pocket two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes were found.
When questioned by police, Leota admitted that the illegal drugs found in his possession belonged to him. He told police that he bought these illegal drugs from a man who was selling drugs in Vaitogi two days prior.
Regarding the allegation that he made threatening remarks to two men at the Veterans Stadium, Leota admitted it and told police that he was disappointed when the two brothers spread rumors in their village saying that he was selling drugs from his home.
Leota told investigators that he never sells drugs. He only uses them to give him strength to do his hard work.
In 2012, Leota was convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana, and subsequently sentenced to 5 years probation under the condition that he serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF). His probation term ended last year.