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Multiple drug charges in court, including two who take a plea

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men who were arrested and charged for violating local drug laws entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Sailo Salote, 22 and Solo Ilalio, 24, appeared in court last week for a Change of Plea hearing. Both were represented by Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Salote was initially charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine; and unlawful possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. But under a plea agreement with the government, which was accepted by the court, Salote pled guilty to a lesser, amended charge.

In court last week, Salote admitted that on Nov. 1, 2019 he unlawfully possessed 2 small baggies containing meth. The remaining charges against Salote were dismissed under the plea agreement.

Ilalio was initially charged with unlawful possession methamphetamine. But a plea agreement with the government, that was accepted by the court, allowed Ilalio to plead 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.

Ilalio admitted that on Nov. 1, 2019 he unlawful possessed 2 glass pipes containing methamphetamine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2020.


One of the 4 defendants in a Tafuna area drug bust waived his rights to a preliminary examination (PX) and he appeared in High Court for arraignment this past Monday, where he entered a not guilty plea to one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetaine).

Tavita Lamese’s pretrial conference is set for Oct. 18, 2020 at 9a.m.

He remains in custody, unable to post a cash bond of $5,000.

Lamese was arrested along with three co-defendants, Amosa Tagaloa; Ulisese One and William Fiso, after detectives from the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit executed a pair of search warrants two months ago.

The government alleges that police officers discovered a baggie containing a crystalline substance in Lamese’s pocket during a body search.

Lamese is alleged to have told police that the three of them were inside Tagaloa’s vehicle and they had gone to Iliili to deliver meth to another person earlier that day, and the person had bought $150 worth of meth from Tagaloa while they were there.

He allegedly also told police that he had seen a lot of money and meth inside Tagaloa’s black pouch while he was in Tagaloa’s vehicle.

According to the government, Lamese claims that the baggie that was found in his pocket was given to him by Tagaloa free of charge. He said he helped Tagaloa sell meth for two months before they were caught, and Tagaloa would sell meth out of his home in Happy Valley or deliver the product if people could not come to Tagaloa’s house.

PX hearings for Tagaloa, One and Fiso are scheduled for next Thursday.

Tagaloa is still in custody, unable to post a $15,000 cash bond. One and Fiso were released last week after they posted surety bonds of $5,000.