Two waiting for sentencing: One can now look for work, the other — arrested again
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Man who served 10-1/2 months at TCF waiting for sentencing — can now look for work
A man convicted of unlawful possession of illegal drugs told the court that the 10-1/2 months he spent at TCF was more than enough to teach him to become a better man in the future.
Emmanuel Afatia, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $5,000 surety bond appeared in High Court last week for sentencing.
Afatia was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony punishable by imprisonment term of not less than five nor more than ten years, a fine of not less than $5,000 not more than $20,000, or both.
Under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court in August of this year, Afatia pled guilty to the amended charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a class D, punishable by imprisonment term of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
By his guilty plea, he admits that on December of last year, he had in his possession a stamp-sized baggie containing methamphetamine when police searched him.
The court sentenced Afatia to five years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000. Execution of the term of imprisonment was suspended and Afatia was placed on probation for five years subject to several conditions.
He was ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF). He was credited for the 10 1/2 months he already served while awaiting the outcome of this matter.
The court also ordered that the defendant be released for a period of 90 days on the condition that he seek and secure gainful employment. The court made it clear to Afatia that “gainful employment” does not include family farming, but he is to seek employment where he can work and earn a paycheck.
If the defendant is unable to secure gainful employment, the court will order him to return to the TCF to serve the remaining period of his detention. Throughout the period of probation, the court ordered the usual restrictions, including submitting to random drug testing upon demand from a Probation officer or a police officer.
The court also ordered the defendant to pay his fine.
According to the court, Afatia’s sentence will run consecutive with the prior sentence from District Court.
While in jail for sentencing on his original conviction, he was arrested again, one month later, along with two other inmates for the alleged beating of another inmate inside the TCF.
Afatia, along with the two co-defendants were each charged with one count of public peace disturbance (PPD).
The government claims that it was in the morning of Jan. 15th, 2020 when several police units were called to respond to the TCF to assist Correction Officers with a fight that was in progress. The fight was between Afatia and his two co-defendants.
One witness told police that he was the one who tried to stop Afatia from trying to enter another cell block while holding a metal object in his right hand. Later on that same day, Afatia, along with the two co-defendants walked to other side of the TCF compound and threw rocks at other inmates standing in front of another cell block.
Afatia was convicted by the District Court for PPD and was sentenced to 12 months probation.
A man who is on probation for stealing was arrested again by police on the allegation he violated local drug laws.
Tavita Toimoana was a passenger in a truck that was pulled over by police last month in Falenliu where two glass pipes (commonly used to smoke meth) containing white crystalline substance were found inside the right pocket of his pants.
The government claims that on the early morning of Sept 15, 2020, two police officers patrolling the Iliili public highway observed a truck with too many lights on its front portion.
Police officers immediately pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road. Three males were inside the vehicle, including Toimoana, who was sitting in the passenger seat.
The driver of the vehicle, who is also the owner of the vehicle received 3 traffic citations, after providing proof of valid documentation.
It was while officers were speaking to the driver, the defendant, Toimoana, opened the passenger’s door and exited the vehicle. He was instructed to stay inside the vehicle, but continued walk to to the back of the truck and at the same time trying to reach inside the rear left pocket of his pants.
As the other officer walked over to the area where Toimoana was standing, Toimoana immediately took off and ran to the other side of the road and continued fleeing from the officer. Officers, along with the help of the driver and the other passenger chased Toimoana for few minutes before he was apprehended in front of an Asian store in the area.
A body search was conducted on Toimoana where officers discovered two glass pipes containing white crystalline substance inside. The white crystalline substance was tested and turned out positive with methamphetamine.
Toimoana told officers he got the two glass pipes containing meth from his friend for $40.
The driver of the vehicle was also interviewed by police where he told them Toimoana was only an acquaintance and he was on his way to pick up his cousin from work when Toimoana flagged down his vehicle and asked for a ride back home to Iliili.
The driver told police that he was unaware that Toimoana had illegal drugs in his possession.
The defendant made his initial appearance in court. He’s charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony, punishable by term of imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine not more than $20,000, or both.
Bail is set at $5,000 and preliminary examination is scheduled for Thursday next week at 10a.m.
Toimoana is on 5 years probation after being convicted by the court for assaulting another man by using a metal pipe to strike his head twice, causing severe injuries to the victim’s head and body three years ago.
Toimoana was ordered to serve 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) and pay restitution in the amount of $613.89 as a condition of probation. He was also ordered to remain law abiding and stay away from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs.