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Stealing, assault, and of course drug charges top agendas in court

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man arrested on the allegation that he unlawfully entered a store in the Leone area, damaged property and stole several items is facing two separate criminal cases.

Tomasi Faavesi made his initial appearance in court last month.

In the first case, Faavesi is charged with stealing and second-degree burglary, both felonies. In addition to that he’s charged with felony counts of unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth).

Bond is set at $15,000.


On July 29, 2022 a businessman reported to police that his store in Leone area was burglarized and personal belongings were stolen. According to court records,  the defendant allegedly gained entrance into the back room. 

This was caught on surveillance footage and a male employee identified it was the defendant. Police records say the defendant was apprehended at his uncle’s home in Taputimu. He allegedly admitted to investigators that he broke into the store and took a number of things, while his friend was standing outside of the store as the lookout.

Prior to the police interview, a body search was conducted, and two clear ziplock baggies containing a white crystalline substance which later tested positive for meth, fell from the right side of Faavesi’s shorts.

Police also found two hand rolled joints, which later tested positive for THC/ marijuana, inside his pants pocket.

When asked about the drugs, Faavesi blamed someone else.


A man convicted of assault and was placed on five years probation by the court in a separate matter has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his niece.

During the arrest last month, Police discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance in his pant’s pocket.

Taamilo Motusaga made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth and one count of abuse of a child involving domestic violence.

Bail is set at $10,000.


Its alleged the incident came to light when a woman reported the defendant allegedly assaulted her 5-year-old daughter. Several police officers responded and met with the mother, who said that her cousin Motusaga slapped and kicked the victim in the face.

Officers observed an abrasion and bruises on the left facial area of the victim. EMS was contacted regarding the victim’s injuries.

The victim’s mother, along with other family members were interviewed by investigators regarding the incident. The mother told police she was at the store when her sister called informing her about the incident.

The victim’s mother arrived home and saw her daughter crying and she observed swollen and red marks on her daughter’s facial area, and that’s when she contacted police.

According to the defendant, he disciplined his niece after she woke him up twice. It’s alleged he slapped her twice on her face, as well as kicking her in her face. 


A 35-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl entered into a plea agreement with the Government, last week.

Joseph Mataese, who is out on a $10,000 surety bond, was initially charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, both class D felonies; along with endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

However, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the High Court, Mataese pled guilty to one count of first-degree sexual abuse.

The defendant admits that on June 16, 2021, he inappropriately touched a 16-year-old girl.

According to the plea agreement, the victim’s mother reported the incident to authorities after she discovered that her daughter was sexually assaulted by the defendant, who is their neighbor and also her brother’s best friend.

The victim told police that the defendant entered her room at night and sexually assaulted her. Two weeks later, there was a second encounter and the police were contacted for assistance.

The government is recommending that the court sentence Mataese to probation, with no jail term. Sentencing is scheduled for next month.


Andrew Faletolu arrested last month is charged for unlawful possession of meth.

Bail is set at $10,000 with preliminary examination set for next week.


The government claims that on July 30, 2022, police officers responded to a traffic incident in Avau.

It’s alleged when police officers were speaking to the driver they observed drugs in the vehicle. Two males were inside the vehicle — the passenger was Faletolu. The vehicle’s registration was expired, says police.

Both men were informed by police officers that the vehicle was going to be impounded for expired tags, and they would also be transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for further investigation.

A body search was conducted and a glass pipe with a white crystalline substance was found in Faletolu’s possession. Officers further discovered cut up straws, empty baggies and a broken glass pipe inside the defendant’s right pocket.

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

According to Faletolu’s statement, he was picked up in Utulei by his friend (driver of the vehicle) and he discovered a bag with a pipe inside the vehicle when they stopped at a store in Fagaalu.