Man looking at an assault charge from January, possession of illegal drugs in Oct
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation, who was taken in for questioning and later released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) when the 48- hour detention period expired‚ was arrested by police last month and is now charged with violating local drug laws.
During his interview, investigators were informed that the defendant had an active warrant for an assault case from the beginning of this year, where he assaulted a man during a birthday party at his friend’s house.
On Oct. 20th, 2020 about 4:20 a.m, a vehicle with no license plate light was stopped. It had four occupants, the driver, and three passengers — two males and a female.
One of the passengers sitting in the back seat of the vehicle was observed touching his shorts nervously. He was later identified as Faasoo Mapu. The officer confronted Mapu and asked him to step out from the vehicle because he felt unsafe seeing him with his hands in his pockets. Mapu refused and he was seen trying to reach down to his left foot.
That’s when officers quickly opened the back door and pulled Mapu out of the vehicle with his hands still in his pants pocket. The officer told Mapu to take his hands out from his pants pockets and asked him if he had anything in his pocket that might put them (officers) in harm’s way.
Mapu responded “No”.
The officer then asked Mapu to take out whatever was in his pocket and had to repeat it 4 times, according to the court affidavit. Mapu kept refusing, however the 4th time he was asked, he agreed to the officer reaching inside his pocket, and that’s when a plastic baggie was discovered. The officer asked Mapu about the contents of the baggie and Mapu responded it was marijuana joints and a pipe.
The glass pipe found in Miapu’s possession contained white crystalline substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine; and, the marijuana joints tested positive for THC.
All the other individuals inside the vehicle were also searched and nothing illegal was found. Officers then questioned the passengers of the vehicle and the driver.
The driver told officers that he was not under the influence of alcohol. He was just driving the vehicle that belonged to the defendant, Mapu.
Further investigation of the vehicle at the scene by police led to one of the passengers — a 20-year-old — being charged with under age drinking as open beer cans were discovered inside the vehicle.
One of the officers also spotted a glass pipe commonly used to smoke drugs beneath the underaged passenger’s seat. Asked about the glass pipe, the 20-year-old said it belonged to Mapu, and that Mapu had told him to hide it on the side of the door.
The white crystalline substance contained in the glass pipe tested positive for methamphetamine.
Officers questioned the other two occupants of the vehicle and they confirmed that the illegal drugs found inside the vehicle belonged to Mapu. They said that it was Mapu who brought the drugs inside the vehicle.
Mapu was Mirandized and he agreed to speak to police regarding the incident.
According to Mapu’s statement, he was afraid when their vehicle was pulled over by police because there was another incident that occurred many months ago where he assaulted another man using a metal pipe to strike his head during a friend’s birthday party.
When officers instructed him to step out of the vehicle, he refused because he didn’t want officers to know that he had illegal drugs on him. He admitted to police that he asked the 20-year-old to hide a glass pipe on the side of the vehicle’s door while he held on to another glass pipe and the marijuana joints.
Mapu was taken into custody after he was interviewed by police, while the other three were released after they were interviewed. He was released after 48-hours.
One week later, the 20-year-old appeared in Court on a summons — he was charged with one count of under age drinking, a misdemeanor.
THE ASSAULT CASE
On Jan. 23rd, 2020, a man contacted the TPS regarding an injuried man at his residence in Happy Valley. According to reporter’s statement to police, the injured man was one of the many friends his younger brother invited to attend his sister’s birthday party. Among those who were invited to the party was Mapu, the defendant in this matter, who was involved in a fight close to the end of the party, where he used a metal pipe. The victim sustained severe head injuries, and Mapu fled the scene.
Faasoo Mapu made his initial appearance last month.
The court has filed two separate cases against Mapu.
In the first case, he’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, an unclassified felony punishable by imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
In the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of 2nd degree assault, a felony, along with one count of armed with a dangerous instrument, a misdemeanor.
Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea set bail at $15,000.
During his initial appearance proceedings, Mapu’s attorney informed the court that the defendant waived his rights to a preliminary examination and wished for the case to be bound over to the High Court.
Mapu appeared in High Court weeks ago where he entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him.
Pretrial conference is now set for Dec. 22nd.