Overstayer gets jail time, probation for drug possession
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — One of the co-defendants in the Ottoville drug case from last year will serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and thereafter, he is to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for 5 years — the duration of his probation.
Si’u Viliamu Jr, 47, was working as a taxi driver when he was arrested during the early morning hours of July 13, 2018. He was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by 5-10 years in jail, a fine of $5K-$20K or both.
But under a plea agreement with the government, Viliamu Jr pled guilty to the amended count of unlawful possession of meth, a class D felony, punishable by not more than 5 years in jail, a fine of not more than $5,000 or both.
He has been in custody, unable to post a $10K surety bond.
During sentencing last week, Viliamu Jr apologized and said, “I’m a bad person and I know that my actions were not according to the law. Spending 15 months in prison was not a good thing for me, but throughout this whole ordeal, I have learned a lot of good lessons which will help with my life as I move forward to becoming a better person.”
He then asked for a second chance so he can return home to care for his family.
Defense attorney Michael White asked the court to adopt the Probation recommendation, and sentence his client to 5 years probation. White said his client has shown true remorse, and he has spent almost 15 months behind bars awaiting his sentence.
Prosecutor Laura Garvey said the government has already entered into a plea agreement with the defendant and they will leave sentencing up to the court.
Based on the Pre Sentence Report (PSR), Viliamu Jr was operating a taxi illegally, as his immigration ID had expired almost 3 years ago. The court noted that the case against the defendant is very serious and he played a key role in it.
Viliamu Jr was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment under certain conditions. He has to pay a $1,000 fine and serve 20 months without release at the TCF. Thereafter, he is to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation. While at TCF, Viliamu Jr is not eligible for trustee status.
A certified copy of the court's judgment is to be served to the Chief Immigration Officer to ensure the defendant’s name is on the lookout list.
Viliamu Jr was arrested July 13, 2018 pursuant to a search warrant from the court. When questioned by police, Viliamu Jr said the contraband found in his taxi did not belong to him. He claimed that the meth pipe probably belonged to a passenger he picked up.
He told police that the only things that belonged to him were the two scissors, which he uses to cut his mustache. He added that he drives a lot of people who do drugs and he also helped Alex Alofipo (co-defendant) pick up money from people, and Alofipo would sometimes ride in his taxi to run errands.
As a condition of his plea agreement with the government, Viliamu Jr agreed to testify during Alofipo’s trial, which is scheduled for next year.
Alofipo is still in custody unable to post a $30,000 surety bond. He is charged with unlawful possession of meth with the intent to distribute; unlawful possession meth; and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunitions.