Marijuana cases in court
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man who failed to comply with conditions of his 5-year probation has been given another chance. Probationer Ioane Mataese was arrested two month ago after he tested positive for marijuana.
Mataese appeared in court last month for a preliminary hearing, where he admitted that he failed to comply with conditions of his probation, which required him to be drug and alcohol free.
According to Probation, a random urinalysis on Mataese administered two months ago at the District Court came back positive for weed. Mataese admitted to Probation that he smoked weed at his mother’s birthday party the night before.
He appeared in court last week for a Disposition Hearing, where his attorney asked the court not to revoke his client’s probation but instead, allow him to continue on probation. He said that after his client was released from custody last year, he complied with all conditions of probation.
According to the defense attorney, Mataese was employed when he was arrested in October. He paid his fine in full and was also current with his monthly visitations to Probation. McNeill said his client screwed up when he smoked marijuana (weed).
Mataese apologized for his actions and asked for a chance to continue on Probation. He assured the court that he would not violate any conditions of probation.
In handing down its decision, the court told Mataese his probation would not be revoked; however, if he fails to comply with any of the conditions set forth, he will not get any more chances.
A man accused of selling hand rolled marijuana cigarettes to three different people behind an Asian store in the Tafuna area last year has entered into a plea agreement.
Faamanu Aleki, 32, of Tafuna appeared in court last week for a pretrial conference but pled out instead.
Aleki, a farmer, was initially charged with unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; and unlawful possession of marijuana. But under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Aleki pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge, a class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Alesana admits that on Mar. 14, 2020 in Tafuna, he sold 14 hand rolled marijuana joints — for $10 a piece — to two men he claims are his regular customers.
The case was reported to police by a woman who found two joints in her husband’s pocket. A verbal argument erupted between the couple, and it ended with the woman telling police that Aleki is her husband’s cousin, and he’s been selling drugs in the village for years — but nobody has reported it to police out of fear of Aleki and his family.
The woman further stated to police that her husband has just admitted to her that the two marijuana cigarettes discovered inside his pant pocket was bought from Aleki for $20.
A search of Aleki’s home and plantation later, on that same date was carried out, where police found drugs, firearms, and drug paraphernalia.
Aleki, who is out on a $15,000 surety bond, will be sentenced Feb. 13th.