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Police arrest two after fight in Malaeimi

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men were taken by police into custody last week following a fight in Malaeimi, according to court information. The accused, Faamata Lasi and Jason Laulu, made their initial appearances in District Court last week.

Faamata is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony; along with two counts of third degree assault and one count each of public peace disturbance, and underage drinking, all misdemeanors. Laulu is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of third degree assault.

According to court information, the fight began when Faamata allegedly threw a rock towards a Tafuna resident before he walked over to the victim and punched him causing the victim to fall. Other youngsters, including Laulu, joined in the fight, which took place in front of an Malaeimi store.

One person was reportedly injured but the extent of his injuries is unknown. There was no indication during court proceedings on what the young men from Tafuna were doing in front of the Malaeimi store that night. There was also no information on what prompted Faamata to start the fight.

Court information states that the charges against Laulu stem from him punching another man, as well as the driver of a truck who came to pick up the young man from Tafuna.

Several cops responded to the incident and apprehended Faamata and Laulu at the scene. Before the two men were placed in the police unit, a body search was carried out. Police found a glass pipe containing meth in Faamata’s pants pocket, while two hand rolled marijuana cigarettes were discovered in Laulu’s pants pocket. Both men claimed to have found the illegals drugs on the ground and picked them up and put them in their pockets.

The white crystalline substance in the pipe tested positive for meth and the green leafy substance inside the two hand rolled joints tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana.

It was revealed during the hearing that Faamata and Laulu both have previous records including fines, which neither have paid. Faamata was convicted and sentenced in 2015 for public peace disturbance, with a fine of $100, not yet paid; while Laulu, whose criminal record dates back to his early teen years, is on probation for a previous run-in with the law.

The defense attorney argued for both of his clients to be released on a $2,000 surety bond. The government opposed and asked that both men be released on $5,000 bail each.

The court agreed. If they are able to post bond, both men are ordered to be law abiding and not make any direct or indirect contact with any of the people who were assaulted.