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Man says he stole money from his parents to buy meth at Le Aute

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who stole money from his parents to buy meth from Le Aute begged the court for another chance so he can care for his elderly parents — the victims of his actions.

Faavaetumau Anetone who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $5,000 cash bond appeared in High Court last week for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill, while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Anetone, 31, was originally charged with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), a felony punishable by not less than 5 or more than 10 years, and a fine between $5,000 and $20,000 or both; and stealing, a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment up to 7 years, a fine up to $5,000 or both.

In a plea agreement with the government, Anetone pled guilty to unlawful possession a controlled substance (methamphetamine). He admits that on June 05, 2018 he unlawfully possessed two plastic baggies containing meth, and he bought the meth from Le Aute with money he stole from his parents.

When given the chance to speak, Anetone expressed remorse for his actions and said he wants to change his life. He apologized to his parents for "stealing their money and their stuff", saying what  he did was "wrong".

According to McNeill, his client was involved with people who dealt with drugs and sometimes they would push him to get money to buy drugs. The worst part of the story is that, his client turned to his own family and stole stuff from his own parents, selling it to other friends to get money to buy drugs.

“My client’s meth addiction problem destroyed his life and even caused a problem inside his family,” said McNeill. He asked the court for probation for Anetone, to allow him to attend a drug abuse counseling program to help with his addiction.

Prosecutor Garvey echoed the submission for a probated sentence. She said the government believes the defendant is truly remorseful and the nearly 6 months Anetone has already spent in jail is sufficient.

She did ask the court to order Anetone, as a condition of probation, to find a job.

Anetone was placed on probation for 5 years, under conditions that include serving 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without any release, except for medical purposes or by an order from the court.

All but 6 months of the jail term is stayed, meaning Anetone will be released this month. Upon release from the TCF, Anetone is to get a job within 60 days. He is to remain alcohol and drug free, and submit to random testing.

“If you fail to comply with any of these conditions, you will be brought back to court and you will be ordered to serve the remainder of your detention,” Associate Justice Fiti Sunia told Anetone.