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Sentence stayed in drug case as long as defendant remains employed — and drug free

American Samoa High Court building

A man with a prior conviction for receiving stolen property two years ago was sentenced by the Court last month to 5 years probation after being convicted for violating local drug laws.

Kamuta Uale who was released on bond, appeared in court last month for sentencing.

Uale was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth), a felony that carries a sentence of imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than ten years and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $20,000, or both.

However under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Uale pled guilty to the amended lesser charge of unlawful possession of meth, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

With his guilty plea, Uale admits that Apr. 22, 2019 he unlawfully possessed a glass pipe containing meth.

When given the change to address the court, he apologized to the court saying that he made a mistake and he won’t do it again. He then requested the court for another chance to continue his service for his family.

Defense attorney asked the court to sentence his client to a period of probation without any additional period of detention. He said that his client is truly remorseful for what he did and takes full responsibility for his action.

According to the defense attorney, his client works full time at a local construction company to provide for his family. He told the court that a probated sentence would allow his client to continue with his employment and to provide for his family.

The prosecutor echoed the defense’s submission saying that the defendant is a suitable candidate for a probated sentence. She stated to the court that the quantity of meth found in the defendant’s possession proves that it was for personal use.

The court agreed.

Uale was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and $2,000 fine. Execution of sentence was suspended and the defendant was placed on probation for 5 years subject to several conditions.

He shall serve a period of detention of 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) without any release whatsoever unless for a genuine emergency or by order of the court. The time served in TCF before he posted bond was taken into account and the balance of detention was stayed until further order of the court.

The defendant is ordered not to consume any alcohol or possess any illegal drugs and he is subject to random drug testing to make sure he’s in compliance with the ‘stay clean’ condition.

The court further ordered that he continue to be employed with the construction company he’s currently working at right now to support his family. He must also attend and complete substance abuse counseling and be law abiding.


On Apr. 22, 2019 at around 11 a.m, several police officers including detectives from the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit responded to an incident involving a vehicle at the Laufou Shopping Center parking lot where drugs were discovered during a traffic stop.

While officers were speaking with the driver of the vehicle regarding his registration together with his driver’s license, one officer observed some paraphernalia inside the car. Two male individuals were inside the vehicle — the driver and a passenger, who was later identified as Uale, the defendant in this matter.

The defendant and the driver of the vehicle were both informed by police officers that the vehicle was going to be impounded for expired tags, and both of them would be transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.

Before the defendant and the driver of the vehicle were transported to the TPS, a pat down search was conducted and illegal drugs, meth, was allegedly found on the passenger.

(The white crystalline substance was field-tested and the test results yielded positive for meth.)

Uale told investigators that he had been in jail for a year and he had just finished a two-year probation. He said he had been staying clean and he has kids that he’s been taking care of and he had stayed away from trouble during his probation.

The driver of the vehicle told investigators that it was Uale who initiated contact for and use of the illegal drugs, mentioning “Le Filifili” and asking him if he wanted “some stuff for the night.”

In May of 2018, Uale was sentenced to 12 months in jail after being convicted of receiving stolen property, a class A misdemeanor. Execution of his sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 2 years.

During his sentencing, Uale told the court that it was his drug problem that pushed him to accept the stolen items. He promised the court that he would do his best not to have a problem with the law again, and he would quit doing drugs.

The defendant was told that the court would accept his submission for a second chance but he needed to address his drug problem and to make sure not to repeat it.