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More and more often, alcohol is at the root of village turmoil

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has charged Kome Lafitaga with public peace disturbance, and Judge Elvis P. Patea says the defendant needs to find a way to address his alcohol problem.

During arguments regarding the defendant’s bail, the judge said it’s clear from court records that Lafitaga has appeared in court since 2012 for cases stemming from alcohol use.

Lafitaga was taken into custody last week after family members contacted police for help, because Lafitaga was intoxicated and causing trouble - swearing at neighbors and others.

A neighbor told police that he got into an argument with the defendant, “who was drunk” and started swearing profanely, according to the court affidavit which also notes that Lafitaga said the neighbor “is stupid” and he is not afraid of anyone and is not afraid to beat anyone up.

As Lafitaga was being transported to the police station, cops detected a “strong odor of alcohol” coming from his breath and clothes. Lafitaga had to be assisted into the police station because he could barely stand up, let alone walk. During the booking process, the defendant responded with “slurred speech” and sometimes struggled to answer questions. He was released on his own recognizance.