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Man wanted for stealing cell phones found with drugs in his possession

American Samoa District Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Officers on patrol in front of CBT in Nu’uuli stopped an individual riding a bike, on Sept 2, 2023 at 2:45 PM, and discovered drugs inside a fanny pack that was on his person. The individual arrested was identified as Mark Tafua, who officers discovered had an active arrest warrant.

Officers state in court filings that while patrolling in the Nu’uuli area, they observed Tafua riding his bike without any lights on. Therefore, they stopped Tafua and informed him of the situation — and while chatting with the defendant, they informed him of an arrest warrant. 

Tafua was detained and transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation, where they conducted a pat down and found more drugs.

Officers discovered inside his black fanny pack, a small baggie containing green leafy substances, a small baggie with crystalline substance, a silver cellphone and $50 cash. Officers seized the items and contacted the Vice and Narcotic unit. 

Both baggies were tested and were positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana and methamphetamine (meth), respectively.

Tafua was  Mirandized, booked and confined at the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF), to await a court appearance in another case. Evidence recovered during the incident was documented and turned in to the department’s evidence custodial.

For this case, Tafua is charged with two counts — the unlawful possession of controlled substances, meth and marijuana. 


For the previous case, of which the arrest warrant was issued, court documents say that on n January 21, 2023, at 8:31 AM, the TPS received a call from a man reporting that the company he works for had been burglarized by an unknown male. 

The man stated that he received a call from the owner of the company, who asked him to rush over to the office due to the break in.

“I walked inside the shop and noticed that the box with phones was open,” the cellphone store owner told officers, who were on the scene of the alleged crime.

Officers reviewed security camera footage, and got a clear picture of the suspect. At the time, the unknown person was seen taking various items and walking outside. Officers later identified the suspect as Mark Tafua. 

Court filings further detailed that Tafua walked into the store around 2:30 AM and took phones, a watch and wireless headsets, all of which amounted to an estimated $3,135. 

Officers apprehended Tafua later in front of a store. He was Mirandized, and cooperated with the officers, until they got to Tafua’s residence, to retrieve the stolen items. 

Upon arrival at Tafua’s residence, police were unable to recover all of the products stolen from the store, and that’s when Tafua fled, with his hands still  cuffed. 

For this burglary case, Tafuna was charged with burglary in the second degree and stealing, and a misdemeanor of trespassing.

Bail for Tafua in this case was set at $10,000.