Meth suspect pleads for bail reduction due to heart condition
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — District Court Judge Elvis P. Patea denied a motion by Assistant Public Defender Rob Stuart this week, to reduce Ron Evalu’s bond from $2,000 to $500, and to allow him to be housed at the LBJ Medical Center due to his heart condition.
Evalu was one of two men arrested for disturbing the public peace; but was later charged with unlawful possession of meth. He appeared in court this week for a preliminary examination.
When Evalu’s case was called, Stuart argued for bail reduction, saying his client suffers from a heart problem, and he needs to be at the LBJ Hospital for treatment. He argued that the TCF is not the right place for his client, because he is a patient, and a patient needs to be in a hospital.
Stuart added that his client is not a flight risk, because he plans to stay in American Samoa with his son and daughter-in-law.
Prosecutor Christy Dunn opposed the motion, saying Evalu arrived in the territory last month, he’s not from American Samoa, and the government believes he is a flight risk.
Before Patea denied the defense’s motion, he pointed out that one of the common crimes in the territory right now is unlawful possession of meth. He said that this year alone, the court has signed numerous warrants to arrest people for unlawful possession of meth and meth instruments. “This charge is a felony, which carries a mandatory imprisonment term of not less than 5 years. Whether a small quantity of drugs was found or a large amount was found, the mandatory imprisonment is still the same,” Patea said. He then denied the motion to reduce bail.
Evalu’s PX is continued to next week.
When Evalu was at the Tafuna Substation after his arrest at the airport, police saw another male - later identified as Evalu’s son - sitting next to him, trying to get something from inside his pockets.
At the same time, a cop saw small pieces of broken glass near Evalu’s feet and underneath his feet was a small clear baggie containing a white substance. Evalu’s son told police his father has a heart problem, and he recently arrived in the territory. He said his dad has a habit of smoking meth when he is off island.
Evalu remains in custody unable to post a $5,000 surety bond.