One of three men convicted after Petesa drug bust is released
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the three men convicted of violating local drug laws after armed detectives of the DPS Vice & Narcotics Unit (VNU) executed two search warrants in July 2018 in Petesa was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
Tokei Misi Siua, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $15,000 cash bond appeared before the Chief Justice last week for sentencing. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule’.
Siua, who owns the vehicle where drugs, drugs paraphernalia and money was found during the police raid was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; methamphetamine (meth) with intent to distribute and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, to wit; meth, both unclassified felonies.
However, in a plea agreement with the government, also accepted by the court, the defendant pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of a meth, a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up fo five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, Siua admits that on June 28, 2018, he unlawfully possessed meth without legal authorization.
The defense attorney asked the court to sentence his client to a term of probation without any additional period of detention. Anderson informed the court that his client had been in custody for over 3 years now while awaiting the outcome of this matter. He asked the court to allow the time his client served during his pretrial detention to be his period of detention.
He said his client is truly remorseful for what happened and he takes full responsibility for what he did.
The government’s attorney agreed with the defense attorney’s submission and recommended to the court a probated sentence.
The court asked the defense attorney to elaborate more about his submission that his client takes full responsibility for his action. According to the court, taking full responsibility includes an early admission. The defendant spent over 3 years at TCF before he pled guilty.
There was no response from the defense attorney.
After reviewing all the facts of the case, the court handed down its decision.
The imposition of sentence is suspended for a period of five years and the defendant is placed on probation for five years subject to several conditions of the court, which include being drug and alcohol free, submitting for tests at anytime to make sure he’s clean, and to have his personal belongings and property searched by police or a Probation officer at any time to make sure he’s not in possession of any illegal drugs and contraband.
He is also to visit probation once a month.
The court strongly advised Siua that if he failed to comply with any of the conditions, he will brought back to court for sentencing and the court can sentence him to five years at the TCF or a $5,000 fine, or both.
According to the government case, it was n June 28, 2018 around 12:30 when several police detectives from the Vice & Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant on a pickup truck, which was parked in front of a store in Tafuna.
Police approached the driver of the vehicle, who was later identified as Tokei Misi Siua, and informed him about the search warrant and asked him to exit the vehicle. Siua had also been convicted for unlawful possession of illegal drugs several years ago.
Two other male individuals were also inside Siua’s vehicle. One of the two men was later let go by police after he was searched at the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS).
Court affidavit stated that when asked to exit his vehicle, “Siua immediately asked one of the officers if he could ‘help’ him.” Siua was patted down for weapons and detained. All three men and the vehicle were then transported to the TPS to complete the search.
A search of the vehicle at the TPS yield a black pouch with money and a white glass bulb along with other items.
When the police officer pointed to the bulb and asked Siua what the object was, Siua stated that it was a pipe.
Upon retrieval of the items, officers found a large glass pipe containing a thick crystalline substance, three 3.5-inch plastic baggies containing crystalline substance, one 3-inch orange colored cut up straw containing a crystalline residue, 10 empty baggies in various sizes and $1,589 USD in cash mainly in $20 dollars, bills.
The crystalline substances tested positive as meth.
After completing the search of Siua’s vehicle, the search then moved to his residence in Petesa where 28 jumbo straws and 18 glass vials were discovered. Another vehicle belonging to Siua was also searched, but nothing was found inside.
One of the passengers in the truck, is alleged to have told police that the three of them, who were inside Siua’s vehicle, had gone to Vaitogi to deliver meth to another person earlier that day; and told police that the person had bought $100 worth of meth from Siua while they were there.
He also told police that he had seen a lot of money and meth inside Siua’s black pouch while he was inside Siua’s vehicle. He further added that the baggie that was found in his pocket was given to him by Siua at no charge. He said he has helped Siua sell meth for 4 months before they were caught, and that Siua would sell meth from his home in Petesa, or deliver meth if people would not come to Siua’s house.