Repeat offender accused of drug possession and attempted burglary in Fagaalu
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has charged a 31-year-old man with drug possession, and for trying to break into a store in Faga’alu three weeks ago.
Jake Sefo, who has a criminal record, made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and second degree attempted burglary — both class D felonies; and a class B misdemeanor: public peace disturbance (PPD)
If he is able to post a court imposed $5,000 bond, Sefo is not to set foot in the store he allegedly tried to break in to. He is also to remain alcohol and drug free, be law abiding, and not leave or attempt to leave the territory without the court’s permission.
Defense attorney Anna Whiles asked the court to reduce her client’s bond to $2,000, saying Sefo is a resident of the territory and has strong ties to the community.
Whiles said Sefo works as a fish cleaner to care for his family, and his family depends on him.
Prosecutor Jason Mitchell strongly opposed the motion. He said the $5,000 bond is a suitable amount for the allegations and he believes Sefo is a flight risk who needs to be kept in custody until his case is resolved.
Patea agreed and denied the motion.
According to the government’s case, police received information from a man regarding a male who tried to break in to a Faga’alu store on the night of July 23rd.
Police responded but were unable to locate a suspect. A week later, the same caller contacted police again, telling them the man he saw trying to break into the store was within sight.
When police arrived, the caller pointed to Sefo, who was playing rugby with other village youth.
Police approached Sefo and asked if he could come with them to the station to discuss an important issue. While speaking to police, Sefo turned and ran to the back of a church. A foot chase ensued.
Sefo was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning. Prior to that, a body search netted four hand rolled cigarettes wrapped together inside a white blank paper in Sefo’s pocket.
Sefo allegedly told police that the marijuana cigarettes were from a friend, who he did not identify.
When asked about the allegation that he attempted to break in to a store in Fagaalu, Sefo said he didn’t know anything about it, although he knows the two men who broke into the store and stole food items.
Preliminary hearing is tomorrow at 8:30a.m.
In 2012, Sefo was ordered to serve 28 months at the TCF as a condition of a 7-year probation term for a stealing conviction, stemming from a Fagatogo store burglary.
Co-defendant Masunu Alapati was the lookout while Sefo went inside the store and came out with a register containing $631.09 cash and food items.
Nothing was recovered when police apprehended the two men.