Rash of PPD cases in court —drugs and/or alcohol usually involved
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young man who spent 45 days behind bars for disturbing the peace in Nuuuli a few months ago was released from confinement last week, after the Court sentenced him to time served at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).
The government claims that on the night of May 12, 2021 around 10.45 p.m, Tasi Saiete disturbed the peace, by yelling out profanities while he was heavily intoxicated, which caused many families to wake up and run to the road to see what was happening.
The government further claimed that the defendant also engaged in some threatening behavior when some of the village people tried to calm him down.
Saiete pled guilty to peace disturbance (PPD), a class B misdemeanor. In return for his guilty plea, the government agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against the defendant. Saiete was arrested on the night of incident and spent 45 days in TCF after he was unable to post his cash bond of $500.
Saiete appeared in Court last week for sentencing.
The court sentenced Saiete to a period of probation of 12 months subject to the following conditions — that he pay a fine of $165, stay away from consuming alcohol or possessing illegal drugs, and remain law abiding and visit the probation office every month.
“Saiete, if you violate any conditions of your probation, the court will order you to serve the 84 days of detention that was deferred from your previous cases. It’s time for you to stop coming to court and seeing me, except for your probation review in January of next year. You’re a grown man and you need to make good decisions. Don’t let alcohol control your life,” the court warned the defendant.
According to court records, Saiete has a criminal record in Court. In 2015, he was convicted of PPD and trespassing. Again in 2017, he was also convicted of PPD, 3rd degree assault and property damage.
A man from Tafuna who shouted profanities at his aunt and her husband and instructed them to get off the land was arrested last month. During his arrest, police found illegal drugs on him.
On June 19th, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman in Tafuna, asking for assistance in resolving a matter between her and her nephew and his sister. The nephew was later identified as Halai Sam a.k.a Halai Samuelu, the defendant in this matter.
According to the victim’s statement to police, the defendant’s sister cut the tree that their aunt was using as a part of a clothes line. When police officers arrived at the scene, Samuelu’s aunt told them it was a minor dispute that they could've resolved themselves.
Two hours later, around noon that same day, the aunt called TPS again; this time, she asked for assistance regarding her nephew, Samuelu, who was allegedly yelling profanities and disrespecting her and her husband, telling them to get off the land before he killed somebody.
The aunt told police that she called Samelu to come to her house so they could resolve the matter between her, Samuelu and his sister. However, he refused and was yelling bad words at her and her husband. Samuelu also threw a rock at her husband who was standing at the back of their pickup truck. The rock missed the aunt’s husband and hit the driver’s door causing damage.
Police observed the damage and later took pictures of the damage on the side of the victim’s vehicle.
The aunt said she told Samuelu that she was going to call the cops but that only angered him more, and she felt threatened.
When cops arrived they observed Samuelu sitting behind his aunt’s house with a knife in his hand. When police asked him to put down the knife and come with them to the TPS to discuss the matter, Samuelu refused. Instead, he stood up and attempted to get away from police, while still holding the knife.
Samuelu was apprehended and transported to the TPS for further investigation. Before he was transported to the TPS, he was patted down and during the body search, police discovered a glass pipe containing methamphetamine (meth) inside his pants pocket. He refused to speak to police regarding what happened at their residence.
Samuelu made his initial appearance in Court last month. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth, a felony, along with one count of armed with a dangerous weapon and PPD, both misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $5,000 and a preliminary hearing is set for next week.
A 29-year old man was arrested last week on the allegation that he was intoxicated and yelled profanities on the road in Nuuuli. During his arrest, police found a small stamp-sized baggie containing green leafy substance inside his wallet.
Merota Apelu made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a felony, along with third degree assault and public peace disturbance, both class A misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $5,000.
If he is able to post bond, the defendant will be released based on certain conditions including he is not to leave or attempt to leave the territory.
Preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week and Apelu is remanded back into custody until further order of the court.
The court affidavit states that a woman called police on June 28, 2021 around 8:20 p.m to report that an intoxicated man was yelling profanities at her family. She also told police that her young son sustained injuries to his mouth as a result of the man’s actions.
When police arrived at the scene, they observed a crowd of people in front of the victim’s house. On the other side of the road in Nuuuli, another group of people were trying to calm down a male who was yelling out profanities in Samoan. That male was later identified as the defendant.
Eyewitnesses told police that the defendant was heavily intoxicated, walking on the road and yelling profanities. Furthermore, the defendant also tried to pull a piece of timber that was lying on the side of the victim’s house. Somehow, the timber hit the young boy’s chin, which caused a cut on his upper lip.
Apelu was immediately apprehended by police and transported to the TPS for questioning. Officers detected a strong odor of alcohol emitting from Apelu’s breath when he was taken into custody.
As Apelu was escorted to the police unit, a police officer witnessed him trying to reach into his pants pocket. Apelu was patted down per usual police protocol, and a small stamp-sized baggie containing dried marijuana leaves was found inside his wallet.
When questioned about the incident, Apelu apologized for his action and told investigators that he was pissed off at the victim and his friends for bothering him while he was walking on the road.
When questioned about the baggie containing marijuana discovered inside his wallet, Apelu admits that the drugs found inside his wallet belong to him.