PPD, dangerous weapon, assault, sexual abuse, illegal drugs — the list of charges goes on and on
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested for disturbing the public peace in the Nuuuli area is now charged with violating local drug laws after police found illegal drugs in his possession.
Lago Fa’aaliga, 42, made his initial appearance in District Court last week.
The government filed two separate cases against Fa’aaliga.
In the first case, the defendant is charged with one count of burglary in the 1st degree and one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, both class C felonies, along with one count of trespass, a class A misdemeanor.
For the second case, Fa’aaliga is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both, along with one count of 3rd degree assault, one count of public peace disturbance (PPD) and one count of armed with a dangerous weapon, all misdemeanors.
The Court has set bail at $20,000.
If he posts bond, the court ordered Fa’aaliga not to set foot in the house where the alleged incident took place, nor try to have any direct or indirect contact with the victims in these matters.
Preliminary examination is scheduled for Tuesday next week at 1p.m.
According to the court affidavit, it was around 11:35p.m on Nov. 12th, 2020 when the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a phone call from a woman seeking police assistance regarding four men drinking and fighting in front of her neighbor’s house in the Nuuuli area. The caller further stated that two males allegedly yelled profanities and threw beer bottles on the sidewalk, one person was lying on the ground while the other male individual was walking around the neighborhood with a machete in his hand.
Several police officers responded and observed two males sitting in front of a black pickup parked in front of a house — one male was lying on the ground not far from the location where a crowd of people were standing, while another male was walking on the side of the road with a machete in his hand.
The male lying on the ground appeared to be injured, blood streaming down from his face (right eye) and head.
The male with the machete in his hand was later identified as Lago Fa’aaliga, the defendant in this matter. Fa’aaliga was later identified by bystanders from around the area as the person who allegedly started the fight, and also allegedly sells illegal drugs from his home in Malaeimi.
The defendant sustained minor injuries to his face and shoulder and officers also observed blood coming from his head. Officers immediately apprehended Fa’aaliga and later placed him inside a police unit for his safety and the safety of police officers.
The defendant and the injured male lying on the ground were treated by EMS personnel at the TPS and the defendant was later transported to the hospital.
Police conducted a body search on the defendant before he was taken to the hospital and a stamp sized baggie with white crystalline substance residue was discovered, as well a stamp sized baggie containing green leafy substance.
The former white crystalline substance was tested and confirmed positive for methamphetamine, while the green leafy substance, was tested and confirmed positive for marijuana.
The defendant was transported to the LBJ Hospital for treatment and discharged early the next day and was transported straight to the TPS for further investigation.
Several witnesses were interviewed about the matter.
One witness told police that four men were having a drinking session at one of the men’s house — when the defendant started making unreasonable noises and yelling profanities.
At one point, a man approached the drinking session and wanted to speak to the defendant about an alleged incident that happened on the previous night where he allegedly entered the house of another family, unlawfully, and sexually abused a 16-year-old female, who was sleeping in the living room, by touching her chest inappropriately.
The defendant apparently got angry and told the man to leave the premises before something bad happened to him. The man left and the defendant went to the back of the house and returned with a machete in his hand.
The defendant then saw the man who had approached him standing outside of the house talking to one of his friends from their drinking session.
The defendant placed the machete on the ground and grabbed an empty beer bottle and went to strike the man, however, he missed the man and instead struck his friend’s head causing him to fall.
Two days after the defendant was arrested, investigators questioned him at the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) regarding the stamp-size baggie they had found on him on the night in question.
After being Mirandized, the defendant stated that he understood and wished to make a statement.
According to the defendant’s statement, four of them were engaged in a drinking session at a friend’s house to celebrate his birthday. He was drunk and decided to do a stupid move and “faaumu” (Samoan war cry). He also admitted that he assaulted one of the young males (who had assaulted him) by hitting him in his face and head with a beer bottle.
He said he thought it was another man who had come and bothered him with something that he never did, however, he found out that it was his own friend that he had assaulted.
According to the defendant’s statement to investigators, the methamphetamine and marijuana found inside his pocket was not even his. He stated he was shocked when the police said they found it in his pants.
Police were able to interview the victim two days after he was discharged from the hospital. The victim told police that Fa’aaliga assaulted him with an empty beer bottle without any reason.
THE SEXUAL ABUSE CASE
The government alleges that on Nov. 11th, 2020 around 9:45p.m, a woman was inside her house with her four young children, while her husband was at work.
The woman was watching TV with her 4-year-old son inside the room while her other three children, including her 16-year-old daughter, the victim in this case, were doing their homework on the table, in the living room.
The victim and her younger sister had both fallen asleep while their 13-year-old brother was still doing his homework. The victim was sleeping on the couch that was close to the window while her younger sister was lying on the floor.
The victim told police that she awoke when she felt someone touching her chest, and saw a man known by their neighbor as “LIGA” standing at the window from outside of the house touching her inappropriately. She screamed and called out to her mother and the man immediately ran to the back of the house and disappeared.
Liga is also known as Lago Fa’aaliga, the defendant in this matter.
The victim’s brother told police that immediately when her sister screamed and called out to her mother, he turned to the side where his sister was sleeping and saw Liga standing at the window, outside of the house, while his hand was touching his sister.
When questioned about the alleged incident, Fa’aaliga strongly denied any involvement in this case. He told investigators that he never went to the family’s house on the night of the incident.